Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Great Bottle Debate of 08

I try to not be a paranoid alarmist, though sometimes it's difficult (particuarly with a baby!) so I honestly didn't pay too much attention to the whole BPA panic when I was first pregnant. It seemed like at the time, there was nothing concrete and no exact evidence of harm. However, as the months went on and more & more reports came out and as other countries started trying to ban the chemical, I decided maybe it was time to do something about it. (Plus, this was also right around the time that Jake started daycare, so he was getting at least 4 bottles a day, rather than just 1 or so a week) I know I can't protect him from everything so if I can help out by getting rid of those bottles, it would be worth it.

I felt bad because he had enough trouble adjusting to taking a bottle in the first place, I hated to traumatize him by changing things up on him...but I figured if it was for his own good, he'd get over it. After some trial & error, we finally found a bottle/nipple combo that seems to fact, his teacher told us that he seems to take these bottles a little bit easier! (He was using Playtex Ventaires before) We went with NUBY ($7.49 for 3 bottles at BRU-a much cheaper alternative to other bottle choices!) however, the nipples that come with the bottle were crap....Jake really had to work to get any milk out and he got frustrated. So we ended up going with Dr. Browns standard nipples (stage 2) and so far, so good!

so if any moms/moms to be are looking for a cheaper BPA free bottle, I definitely recommend this set.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

I really wish every weekend were 3 days, it makes such a difference! We managed to get a lot of work and play in this weekend and in a shocking turn of events, the weather actually cooperated ALL weekend. (that's practically unheard of!)

The house stuff is coming along...Brian got one set of shutters painted on Saturday (from the nasty chipped beige color to this new makes the whole house look cleaner) Here are some before, during & after pictures:

While he painted, Jake & I sat in the shade and read "People" magazine...Brian looked disturbed when he overheard me reading out loud "And then, Angelina & Brad took Maddox and Shiloh to the beach in Venice...." but reading is reading, right? it was an educational experience for both of us.

Unfortunately, I caught Jake's pink eye from last week (ew, ew...I know, it's gross) but I managed to suck it up & help out...outside. Yes, you heard right...I worked outside. (I helped pull weeds & ivy one day last summer and nearly died, it wasn't a pretty sight.) But it was pleasantly warm all weekend, not sweltering hot yet, so I took it upon myself to slap on some SPF 292 and pot my own plants that I put in the gazebo (go me!) It's not completely set up yet, but I'll be sure to post pictures once it is.

Sunday, we went into Oakland for a picnic (that involved Uncle Sam's subs, mmmm!) on the Cathedral lawn, followed by a walk to Dave & Andy's (it's days like these that make me REALLY miss living in Oakland!) Jake had a great time looking around (and smiling at) all of the people and hanging out on the blanket.

The picnic was pretty tiring, so we had to wait while 2 members of the family took naps:

Monday we went to the little park in our development, where Jake went down a slide for the first time:

We're pretty sure that Brian had more fun than the baby, but that's ok. Gracie also had a good time, running around the open field as free as a bird...she then slipped into a coma for the rest of the afternoon.

Happy Memorial Day!

Book Review: "The Last Lecture"

This month's book club selection was "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch...the book was a quick read and I enjoyed it, even though I had already heard much of the content from the author being featured on the news, Oprah, etc.... Though cheesy in some parts, I think he got a great point across (and I only teared up once, so that was a plus!) I'd recommend it.

Up next: "The Other Boleyn Girl"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Recipe-Cheesy Crockpot Chicken

We made this one a few months ago and then again last weekend, it's easy and yummy (which makes it an excellent recipe in my book!):

Cheesy Crockpot Chicken

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 cans (11oz) condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp garlic powder
pepper to taste
4-6 potatoes

-Place chicken breasts in bottom of crock pot
-in a medium bowl, mix soup & milk until well blended; pour over chicken
-sprinkle garlic powder and pepper on top
-add potatoes into mixture
-cook on low for 5-6 hours

4 month appointment

Can you believe my baby is 4 months old already?? Here are the stats from the pediatrician appointment last night:

15 lbs, 3 oz (60th percentile)

25 1/4 inches long (65th percentile)

He's well on his way to being a tall boy! He was in perfect health and took his shots like a champ with just a bit of screaming (once again, I think it was harder on me than him) The dr. gave us the green light to start solids anytime we'd like, but I think we're going to hold off until closer to 6 months, we're in no hurry---he has the rest of his life to make a mess out of himself at mealtimes :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

A weekend of firsts....

We had 2 "firsts" this is fun, one is not so fun. We'll do the fun one first...

Normally when we eat dinner, Jake hangs out in his bouncy seat on the floor beside us....we've noticed that lately, he's been straining his neck to try and look up & see what we're doing at the table and we took that as a sign that he might want to have a seat of his own during mealtime, so we drug out the high chair. He looks kind of lost in it, but he was content the whole meal to hang out with Mr. Woofy and a rattle in hand and watch us eat. And for any mommies-to-be on the hunt for a highchair, we LOVE this one (Chicco) was easy to set up, has a pop off plastic tray that is dishwasher safe, and folds up really flat so we're able to shove it into our coat closet between meals (one less baby thing to look at all the time, woohoo!)

Now, onto the next first....Jake's first battle with pink eye (ugh!) The germs at daycare seem to be neverending! Brian noticed that his eye was full of goop when he picked him up Friday afternoon from instead of the relaxing, pizza filled evening we had planned, we instead drug ourselves to MedExpress. They seriously should give us a discount there or something, we have to be some of their best customers! I was just there 2 weeks ago for my sinus infection & as many of you remember, Brian was there last year. Twice. In one month. For the same injury (blasting his thumb with a power drill, for those of you who haven't heard the story)

Anyway--as always, they were great at MedExpress & said that other than the pink eye, he's in perfect health (I guess the constant runny nose is just a side effect of daycare that I have to get used to) So we're putting drops in his eyes & hoping that it clears up soon!

The rest of the weekend was good, we hung out at GG & Pappy's house in Washpa on Saturday...Gracie FINALLY got a hair cut (she was so shaggy, it was just embarassing) and we went to a local greenhouse so that Brian could stock up on annuals for the season. Here is Gracie showing off her new haircut, while supervising a diaper change:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Review: "Change of Heart"

Change of Heart (Jodi Picoult)

I just finished this on the bus this wasn't my favorite book of hers, but it was decent. The main topic of the book is the death penalty and I think that's part of what bothered me about it, there were some parts that were just unsettling to read and I felt uncomfortable. But-in her usual style, there were some great twists toward the end of the book, so I'd recommend it, especially if you're a fan of her work!

Up next...."The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Gallery of Gracie

I've been getting many requests for more stories/pictures of Gracie (ok, so the "many" requests are really only coming from my mom, but whatever) Gracie's world pretty much got turned upside down with the arrival of Jake, but I would say she's fairly well adjusted by now. The only problem she's seemed to have was with me! I was completely shunned by her after arriving home from the hospital...this went on for about 2 weeks! Even if I wasn't holding the baby, she would have nothing to do with be honest, it was very heartbreaking! (especially with my crazy post-partum hormones) But she got over it & we seem to be back on track now.

She's obesessed with the baby...I guess that should come as no surprise because she was pretty into my belly for the last part of my pregnancy, as evidenced here:

She got kicked a few times while he was in me, but that didn't seem to faze her too much after awhile :) Now, they are BFF....when I come home after work, I normally drop off my work bag, his diaper bag, our gameroom first so that I don't drop anything, then get him. it never fails that every single day, Gracie looks panicked when I come in without the baby...then she's so relieved when I bring him in that she insists on greeting him with kisses.

Part of Gracie's love for Jake could be because she loves his stuff. Pretty much anytime I'm not using the boppy pillow, you can rest assured that Gracie is keeping it warm for us:

Jake also has a rainforest playmat that we keep on the living room floor....there have been multiple times I've caught Gracie trying to stash her toys in the rainforest. We keep the pack & play behind the couch...Gracie was very interested in the first few weeks in being on "security" duty and watching jake while he slept in there. fortunately, we only had one incident of her falling into the pack & play (and the baby wasn't in it at the time!) I think she was embarassed by the whole thing, she didn't get up on the back of the couch for a few day after that...

Here are some pictures of the siblings:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My 1st Mother's Day

What's crazy is that last year at this time, I was pregnant with Jake (and didn't realize it!) I had really been hoping to find out that I was pregnant in time for Mother's Day last year....I ended up getting a positive test the next day, which was close enough for me! The last year has flown by, sometimes I still can't believe that I'm a mom. (of course, Gracie will always be my 1st baby, but you know what I mean!)

We had a great weekend...Saturday was my friend Jen's baby shower...Jen lives in Maine, so we don't get to see her very often, so it was great to have her in town!! She & Melissa are due one day apart (crazy, huh??)...what's even crazier is that technically (even though it was just for a few weeks) all 3 of us were pregnant at the same time. Which is only fitting since we've lived together and all got engaged & married within a few months of each other as well. Anyway--here are the 3 of us at Jen's shower (look how cute their little baby bumps are!):

Back to Mother's Day...the weekend started out great when Jake came home from school on Friday with his first piece of a proud mom, it brought a tear to my eye:

He's so talented! (Hopefully he's acquired Aunt Amy's art skills & not the skills of his parents). On Sunday, my parents came up for the afternoon and we went out to lunch and hung out at the house. Jake got me the perfect card....the outside had a picture of a donkey with a 75% off tag hanging from his neck & it said "Mom-I know how much you love a good bargain" and the inside said "So I got you this cheap ass card". ahhh....the little man has such a great sense of humor already! Oh and he also wrote inside "Thank you for being the best mommy ever....please stop coddling me" (I have a feeling someone was forcing his hand while writing that....)

Along with the card, I got a very nice picture frame collage to display pictures of Jake, along with a dozen of my favorite cookies (the really soft sugar ones with the huge glob of know, the ones that probably give you instant diabetes? them) My parents also got me a gift....when they were in NYC last weekend, they went to a book signing for Rachel Ray & bought me her family cookbook and Rachel signed it, wishing me a happy 1st mothers day...awwww!!!!!! (and as my dad said, "God knows you could use a cookbook!")

In conclusion, SuperBaby says Happy Mothers Day!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Does anyone have a question for me?

Apparently, a lot of people do. By a lot of people, I mean total strangers. I noticed this phenomenon a lot when I was pregnant...examples of questions I got when pregnant were:

-How much weight have you gained?
(Just because I have a belly doesn't mean I need to advertise the exact amount I'm toting around! would you ask a non-pregnant person this question?)
-Oooh, you're pregnant! congratulations, was it planned?
(um, yes...and if it wasn't, would you have then taken back the congrats??)
-That pop doesn't have caffeine in it....does it???
(Yes, it does...I also eat lunch meat from time to time and I don't work out. When you're pregnant, you can make your own choices!)

The line of questioning doesn't seem to end once the baby is actually here. Now I get:

-Ooooh, what a cute baby! Is he sleeping through the night yet?
(I can see people asking this question now...but I got it when he was like, 3 weeks old. Yes, he's on a perfect schedule, sleeping through the night and we have him trained to get things out of the fridge for us as well, he's perfect.)

and my personal favorite question (and the main reason for this post):
-Are you breastfeeding?

Now, keep in mind that the questions I've listed have been asked to me by total strangers. not friends, not family...strangers. I thought the inappropriate questions would end once I wasn't waddling around with a huge belly anymore....not so much. In fact, the breastfeeding question has been asked at least 5 times when I'm out with the the mall, at the grocery store, Target and most recently, on the bus (which is just where I like to discuss various parts of my body---and for the record, yes, I am breastfeeding) Most of the time, it's asked in such a snooty way, that I hate to think of what their reaction might be if I said no, I was using formula!

So lesson of the day kids....if you happen to stumble on a pregnant woman or new mom and havent' met them before....take mental note of the questions listed above & scratch them off your list of things to ask!!!!

***as an update to my last post, we've had 3 good nights of sleep in a row from the little man (knock on wood!!) Cross your fingers for us that he keeps up the good work!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

To sleep, or not to sleep....

It's not a question for Jake. He is choosing to not sleep these days! I think I let myself get spoiled when he started only waking once through the night around 8 we are at almost 4 months old & we've hit a major regression. I've heard/read many theories about's a growth spurt, it's due to his recent cold, it's because his brain is developing at a very fast rate right now, so he need to process everything, etc.... Well, I hope one of us is getting smarter & having brain developments right now, because I'm pretty sure that mommy & daddy are losing IQ points with each passing night!

Here is what Jake used to look like at night, sleeping peacefully:

"ahh...sleep is good, I love sleep...."
this is the look on his face in the middle of the night now:

"Hey you...wanna come to my all night party?"

Do you notice the clear distinction? where is my sleeping baby??

Well, I'm off to find a way to IV caffeine directly into my system....happy Monday!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I've recently begun to experiment with a new concept in I was inspired while on maternity leave to collect and try different recipes...some were eh, but some were delicious! I'm posting some of our recent favorites on here, but I absolutely do not take credit for any of the recipes! (most are from friends or

Chicken Taco Cornbread Pie

1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 cup kraft shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg corn muffin mix

-Preheat oven to 400
-heat oil in large skillet; add chicken (cook and stir until cooked through)
-add green pepper, seasoning mix and water;bring to a boil
-reduce heat to medium low; simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally
-spoon chicken mixture into 9 inch pie plate; sprinkle with cheese
-prepare muffin mix as directed on package; spoon over cheese, covering cheese layer
-bake 20 minutes or until golden brown; let stand 5 minutes before serving

Crockpot Meatballs & Veggies

12-16 oz bag frozen meatballs
1/2 or more of 16 oz bag of frozen veggies (your choice)
12 oz jar mushroom gravy
14 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 & 1/2 tsp basil
1/3 cup water

-place veggies & meatballs in crock pot
-mix tomatoes, water, gravy & basil in seperate bowl; pour mixture over veggies & meatballs
-cook on low for 6-8 hours

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

8 ounces uncooked rigatoni
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c medium onion (finely chopped)
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 14.5 oz can italian styled diced tomatoes
1 8 oz container of chive & onion cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups shredded mozz cheese

-prepare rigatoni according to package
-meanwhile, spread oil in bottom of 11x17 inch baking dish; add onion in a single layer, bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until just tender
-transfer onion to a large bowl, then set aside
-drain chopped spinach well; stir rigatoni, spinach, chicken & next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl
-spoon mixture into baking dish & sprinkle evenly with shredded mozz cheese
-bake (covered) for 30 minutes; uncover & bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly

Baked Chicken Parmesan with Linguine

1 & 3/4 cup marinara sauce
1 & 1/4 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 pkg refrigerated linguine
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves (1 lb)
1cup shredded mozz cheese

-preheat oven to 400
-mix marinara sauce, water & oil in medium saucepan; bring just to a boil in medium high heat, stirring occasionally
-meanwhile, mix parm cheese, parsley & garlic powder until well blended
-spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray
-seperate linguine noodles; place in prepared dish
-pour marinara sauce mixture over noodles; press noodles into sauce to completely coat them
-top with chicken; sprinkle with parm cheese mixture and mozz cheese
-cover tightly with foil; bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (let stand 5 minutes before serving)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Reading Rainbow

Amazingly, I had much more time on my hands to read once Jake was here than I realized I would, so I flew through quite a few books while on maternity leave. Here are a few that I can remember off the top of my head:

Escape (Carolyn Jessop)
Story of a woman who escaped from the polygomist FLDS cult (if you don't know what this is by now, you must be living under a rock)...we read this one for book club & I couldn't put it down! Well written, intriguing and disturbing, all at the same time.

Comeback (Claire and Mia Fontaine)
Another true story of mother's struggle's with her daughter's drug addiction and recovery in rehab. The mother & daughter co-wrote the book, so you get to hear both angles of the story. It was depressing to read at times, but again...I couldn't put it down.

Walking in Circles Before Lying Down (Merrill Markoe)
A light (almost silly) easy read, but I enjoyed it. After going through some life changes and troubles, the main character begins to "hear" the voices of dogs. All dogs, all the's funny to hear someone interpret what they think dogs would say if they could talk (especially because I interpret things for Gracie all the time!)

Snowflower and the Secret Fan (Lisa See)
This one was just, eh for me. I think I was expecting a whole lot more because I had heard great things. I finished it, but only because I felt like I needed to.

Celebutantes (Amanda Goldberg & Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper)
Definitely chick lit, but had some laugh out loud funny (and often witty) parts. It's about the daughter of a famous director who is sucked into the life of hollywood, but doesn't quite know where she fits in. I enjoyed it, especially after reading quite a few serious books...I needed some fluff back in my life!
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