Monday, February 28, 2011

Recipe: 6 can chicken tortilla soup

Recipe: 6 can Chicken Tortilla Soup

A friend of mine had this posted on her facebook page the other day & I think it will be added into our regular rotation (thanks, Joy!)

1 15 oz can of corn (drained)
2 14.5 oz cans of chicken broth
1 10 oz can of chunk chicken (I shredded it before adding it)
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (drained)

-Open all cans
-Dump into large pot
-Simmer over medium heat until heated through
-Garnish with cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips

That's it! Super easy & very yummy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

There's no place like home.

For as much fun as I had in NYC, it really did feel good to come home. Unfortunately, since it took me for-e-ver to get home that night thanks to a random snowstorm, I didn't get to hang out with Jake in the evening as I had originally planned. He was already in bed when I got there (though he heard me come in & snuck out of his crib for a few minutes to give hugs & kisses). But, he did leave me some messages with his bath crayons earlier that night that made me smile:

The next day, I picked him up from school & he said, "Mommy, you were in New York City. I missed you. I thought I lost you". My heart was breaking, he looked so sad & genuinely concerned with my whereabouts. But it was very sweet and kind of made my mommy ego swell a little bit, knowing that he did seem to notice my absence :)

How could I have not missed this face??

Thursday, February 24, 2011

25 weeks

For as sloooooooowly as the first part of this pregnancy went, I am happy to report that I feel it's been picking up the pace lately. I'm almost in my 3rd trimester!!

25 week belly shot:

And a picture to melt your heart-I wasn't going to do anymore bare belly shots because it's getting to be not-so-cute looking, but as I was leaving for work yesterday, Jake asked to "hug the baby", and proceeded to pull my shirt up & give me a big squeeze. My heart melted on the spot:

I had my every-two-week check up this morning & all was well. I've had a few blood pressure spikes here & there, but the dr. wasn't worried at this point and said that it seems like that might just be my normal at this time. I'll continue monitoring it on my own 3 times a day and have appointments every 2 weeks at this point. I'll get an ultrasound to check on the baby's growth at 28 weeks (yay!)

No protein in the urine, heart rate was 141, belly measuring right on track and weight gain right on track (it was the first time I was a little anxious about the weight gain---I mean, I just spent 3 days in NY eating bagels, burgers & cupcakes!) But all was well.

3rd trimester-here I come!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Now we're in New York.....

The weekend we had been counting down to for oh so long had finally arrived....girls weekend in NYC for Melissa & I!!!

After horrific flights in for both of us (I'm not usually scared of plane rides or turbulence, but this was the worst I've ever experienced-I won't go into specific details, but let's just say that between my flight & Melissa, there were spilled drinks, bags of ice applied to the airline attendant's head when she cracked it off a wall from falling and someone throwing up) But, we made it, safe & sound on Friday night!!

Saturday morning, we took our time getting up & ready for the day (we're such moms-we "slept in" until 6:45am) After enjoying a leisurely breakfast & coffee, we headed over to Rockefeller Center for our NBC Studio Tour (thanks to Melissa's aunt setting up the tour for us and including goody bags with all kinds of fun NBC stuff in them...I love my "Central Perk" tshirt!) I think we were most entertained on the tour by the fact that of the 28 participants, we were the only 2 Americans (the rest were part of a high school group from the UK), so they didn't really get any of the references on the tour. So it went something like this: the tour guide would say, "Ok, who knows who Jimmy Fallon is? Ok, besides my 2 Americans...anyone else? Anyone? No??" But it was fun & we got to see some cool stuff :)

After that, we got lunch at Stage Deli, where I enjoyed the Kevin Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (delicious!) then we relaxed in our hotel room for awhile before heading out to a nearby pub for dinner, followed by cupcakes at Crumbs for dessert.

Sunday morning, we slept in a bit later (I think it was 7:30am, go us!!) and then headed to the Tribeca Grand Hotel to meet Melissa's cousins & their husbands for brunch. Brunch was delicious and we burned off the calories afterward by doing some shopping in Soho. I scored a pair of tall black boots for $24!

We headed back to the hotel mid afternoon to get ready for dinner & a show. We got a recommendation for a hole in the wall Italian restaurant called Tribizzi (I may be butchering that spelling), which was just a few blocks from the theater we were heading to...dinner was great, and very reasonably priced. Onto the show!! My friend Sarah is a travel agent & was able to get me a great deal on tickets to Chicago....we ended up being front row center. A-ma-zing. Side note-I never realized how much people spit when they sing. Or sweat when they're on stage. Or what great shape all of those people have to be could see everything from where we were sitting!! We both thought the show was great, another successful night!

We had requested tickets for the "Regis & Kelly" show months ago when we booked this trip; I hadn't received them in the mail, but we decided to try to get standby tickets Monday morning anyway. Now, we had considered the fact that it was a holiday & maybe they wouldn't be taping...but TV guide online AND the Regis & Kelly website both said "new". Liars!! After getting up & ready at 6am, catching a cab at 6:30 & getting to the studio at 6:45, we walked up to the building all smug when we didn't see anyone, like "Oh yeah...we got this one!" the security guard came out with a smirk & informed us that they weren't taping due to the holiday. Oops.

Onto Plan B---we didn't really have one, so we just stuffed ourselves with more coffee & bagels while we tried to figure out what to do with our morning. It was snowing, but we ended up walking back over to Rockefeller Center and doing the "Top of the Rock" tour, only because we had free tickets. I think the people working thought we were crazy & kept saying, "You know it's zero visibility right now, right?" Free tickets, nothing else to do! Here was our view:

I won't get into my adventure trying to get back home that day, because it was an absolute disaster. But what matters is, we had great weather while in NY, we had a really fun time and I think we both returned feeling a bit more recharged and enjoyed the weekend of relaxation with zero responsibilities.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

Better late than never, right? Brian & I generally don't do anything for V-Day aside from exchange cards, but I did receive a cute little bouquet of flowers from him, Jake & Gracie this year.

We then had a romantic evening at home, during which we ate chili for dinner and watched The Bachelor :) Don't be jealous.

Once Jake heard there was going to be a party involved at daycare, he LOVED Valentines Day. I'll be adding in another nomination for myself for the "Mom of the Year" award; daycare sent a note home 2 weeks ago asking that we have our child decorate a brown paper bag at home to collect Valentines in at school during the party. Who totally forgot about this project until the night before, right after bedtime? And guess who was the one who was decorating said bag at 8pm that evening? Oops.

But, he still had fun at the party & has been taking his Valentines out of the bag every day after school to admire them. And Brian & I loved receiving these adorable cards that he made at school:

After a strange delay in the mail system, we received a V-Day package in the mail from Nana & PopPop yesterday---one of the goodies was this tiger, who Jake has named "Lovey". Apparently, yesterday was Lovey's birthday and we celebrated at home with a cake in Jake's kitchen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

First family ski trip!

After getting the pediatrician recommendation (at Jake's ONE year appointment) to start kids skiing at age 3, Brian has been counting down the days until now. I can't say that I shared his enthusiasm for this countdown. Reasons I don't like to ski:

-I don't like cold weather. Or being wet.
-I don't like layers; I don't embrace the recent fashion trend of piling on layer upon layer of clothing, I find it to be exhausting and uncomfortable.
-I'm not a big fan of being outside. Combine that with my hatred of the cold & well...clearly skiing would not be my first activity of choice.

Reasons why I LOVED skiing yesterday (not that I actually put on a pair of skis-but I walked around in the snow, bundled up, so it counts for now---somehow, taking up skiing again after 12+ years since my last trip when 5.5 months pregnant didn't seem like the best idea...):

-it was 50 degrees out & sunny yesterday; I was actually hot after a few minutes & had to go back inside to strip off a layer of clothes. I didn't have to wear a hat or gloves all day long. amazing!
-Hearing Jake giggle all day long made me totally forget my list of reasons why I hated it in the first place

After getting a bit of a late start (I think we underestimated how long it was going to take all of us to get completely ready), we headed outside around 11am. To summarize the day & Jake's love for his new hobby, we left around 4pm (trying to console a hysterical kid who did not want to leave at all), with only one 45 minute break for lunch in between. He was a trooper!!

I can see why they tell you to start them young; Jake was absolutely fearless. He was flying down the hill (passing up many practicing adults) like he had been doing this for years. By the end of the day, he was pretty good at turning & getting a bit better at stopping (though Brian normally had to run in front of him to keep him from plowing over an unsuspecting person).

Later in the afternoon, we ran into some friends of ours...Jake is always a fan of Amelia and my heart melted right into the snow as I watched them hold hands while taking off to ski.

This video is his first run of the day:

And here is one a little while later, after declaring "I do it myself!":

By the end of the day, we experienced something we have never experienced before---Jake asked to go to bed. At 7:15pm. We have FINALLY found an activity that truly wears him out!! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

23ish week appointment

I went on Monday for my 23 week appointment, just a few days shy of 23 weeks (I wasn't supposed to go until Friday, but my pesky blood pressure spiked again over the weekend, so they had me come in early). Everything was fine, baby's heart rate was 151 and my blood pressure was ok while there. Since it only seems to be spiking at random times, they don't want to mess with my medication yet, but I'm just supposed to keep a close eye on it (monitoring it myself 3 times/day) and if we start to see a pattern to the spikes or if it happens more often, they will either adjust my dose again or switch me to a different medication to see if that helps. The only thing that changed was that they want to see me every 2 weeks as opposed to every month, just to keep a close eye on my blood pressure & make sure there's no protein in my urine.

I received my prescription to have my glucose test done in 2 weeks (blah!) and the doctor let me know that when I come back for my next appointment in 2 weeks, they will probably write me a prescription at that time to get a 28 week ultrasound done to check on the baby's growth and the amniotic fluid...yay to seeing the baby again!!! :)

On another baby-related note, here is the latest conversation we had with Jake about the baby:

Jake: mommy, where is the baby going to go when he comes out?
Me: Well, he'll stay in the hospital a few days to make sure he gets nice & strong, then he'll come to our house.
Jake: He's going to live here? I still go to school?? (slight note of panic in his voice, like he wouldn't be able to go to school anymore)
Me: Yes, he'll live in here in our house & you'll still get to go to school. Then, after awhile, your baby brother will go to school with you, won't that be fun??
Jake: (sour look on his face) That baby should stay in your belly. Tell him! Tell him that, mommy! He should stay in there!

The panic didn't seem to set in until I talked about the baby going to school....and Jake calmed down a bit when I reassured him that the baby would be in a different classroom than his, with all of the other little babies. Perhaps he was worried that his style would be cramped at school if he had his little brother tagging along??

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nursery Ideas

Once we revamp Jake's room into his big boy room in early March, we get to move onto the next house project: the nursery! The walls are in desperate need of new paint; in fact, it was really the only room in the house when we moved in where the paint was in bad shape, but knowing that we would (hopefully) be adding to our family very soon, we let it go for the time being. So step one, will be repainting! Color choice TBD at this point.

I've been scoping out some ideas for what to do with the nursery-this is where I'm torn. I have the bedding from Jake's crib which, if I could, I'd like to just use again because, bedding is expensive. But, I don't want to look at the exact same room again for another 3 years. Here is the bedding we already have:

It's really just blue/brown/tan polka dots. We just didn't really do much with the rest of the room, other than some wall letters that matched and some picture frames. I'm hoping to maybe be able to use the same bedding, but give the room a different feel with accessories.

Here are some ideas that I've liked that have actual bedding...maybe I can find a way to pull out features of them and give the room a new "theme"?? Thoughts and ideas are welcomed!!! (try to look past the fact that the pictures I'm about to post of ideas are WAAAY too much of "themes" for me...I would just do a few simple accents around the room to tie the theme in, not have matchy-matchy everything)

Idea #1: nautical theme
I'm surprised by my own liking of this, as it's not really something I would normally go for. But I enjoy the mix of dark blues/light blues/whites (and I love the idea of putting an oar or captains wheel up on the wall)

Idea #2: Vintage Dogs
Brian is not totally sold on this idea, he thinks it's a bit blah, but I think it's very cute:

So, what do you think? Can I pull off using the same bedding from Jake's room, but change up the rest? Am I just being ridiculous, should I just use jake's bedding & not worry about doing a different theme?? Any other fabulous ideas for the nursery that I've totally missed?

Regardless of the theme we go with, I love these letter blocks from BRU to go on a shelf in the room:
Blue Letter Block - 'g' -  New Arrivals - Toys"R"Us

Book Review: "Unbearable Lightness" (Portia de Rossi)

Unbearable Lightness (Portia de Rossi)

This was an intriguing, sad and uplifting book. It's the story of Portia de Rossi's 20 year battle with eating disorders and her struggle to accept herself, her weight and her life as a gay woman.

I'll admit that I picked up the book mainly because I'm a huge fan of Ellen DeGeneres, and Portia is of course, married to Ellen. I watched Ally McBeal back in the day, so all that I ever knew of the author was her character on that show. But by the end of the book, I was rooting for Portia and really hoping that she was able to overcome her illness and the inner struggles she faced every day trying to fit into the typical Hollywood mold.

Up next: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Stieg Larsson)

Books read in 2010

I FINALLY finished my first book of 2011 (such a slacker I've been!) and realized that I needed to delete my sidebar tool that lists all of the books I read in 2010 to make room for this year's list. I don't want to lose the list altogether, so here it is (click here to read all of my book reviews)

  • "Look Again" (Lisa Scottoline)
  • "Catching Fire" (Suzanne Collins)
  • "The Help" (Kathryn Stockett)
  • "The Girl Who Played with Fire" (Stieg Larsson)
  • "The Book Thief" (Markus Zusak)
  • "My Fair Lazy" (Jen Lancaster)
  • "Fly Away Home" (Jennifer Wiener)
  • "The Carrie Diaries" (Candance Bushnell)
  • "Such a Pretty Fat" (Jen Lancaster)
  • "UnchartedterriTORI" (Tori Spelling)
  • "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" (John Green and David Levithan)
  • "House Rules" (Jodi Picoult)
  • "Friday Night Lights" (H.G. Bissinger)
  • "Heart of the Matter" (Emily Giffin)
  • "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (Stieg Larsson)
  • "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang" (Chelsea Handler)
  • "Picture Perfect" (Jodi Picoult)
  • "Lucia Lucia" (Adriana Trigiani)
  • "Sarah's Key" (Tatiana de Rosnay)
  • "Outliers" (Malcolm Gladwell)
  • "Heat Wave" (Richard Castle)
  • "Between Sisters" (Kristin Hannah)
  • "We're Just Like You, Only Prettier" (Celia Rivenbark)
  • "Push" (Sapphire)
  • "The Art of Racing in the Rain" (Garth Stein)
  • "The Wednesday Sisters" (Meg Waite Clayton)
  • "Digital Fortress" (Dan Brown)
  • "Best Friends Forever" (Jennifer Weiner)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

At least that's not MY kid!

If you're a mom, do you ever find yourself saying (to yourself, of course) "So glad that's not my kid doing that!" I'm not saying that to be mean, but I'm being honest. Jake has his challenging moments and is definitely in a stereotypical 3 year old stage right now where a lot of things turn into a fight, or he freaks out about something for seemingly no reason. So the selfish mom side of me gives myself a little pat on the back when we're out somewhere & I see a kid doing something and for that brief moment, a wave of relief washes over me & I can have my "not my kid!" moment of that day.

A few weeks ago, that WAS my kid. I was the one who felt like I had a million eyes on me, judging Brian & I. To give some background, while Jake may be challenging in some areas, he is generally very well-behaved when we go out to eat. He sits in his seat, politely orders his own food and occupies himself with toys or books that he brought, or the crayons that are provided. However, when we went out to dinner with my parents a few weeks ago, it was like another kid had crawled into his body and taken over. "I DON'T WANT TO SIT! I WANT MY FOOD! I DON'T WANT THESE TOYS! GIVE ME THAT FORK!" I was mortified. As calmly as I could even though my heart was racing, I removed him from his seat and took him out to the lobby area of the restaurant and let him know that his behavior was not ok and if he wanted to eat his dinner, he needed to quietly come back in and wait patiently for his food.

He did come back in. He did sit down. I wouldn't say that overall, it was a great experience even after that. He was still fighting us on stuff. He was still squirming all over his seat. He was still trying to take everything off the table in his reach and toss it on the ground.

We haven't been out to dinner since then, but I really hope it was just an off day for him. So fellow moms, what do you do in those situations? We've all been there-how do you handle it when you're the one with the kid crying in the store? Fighting with you in the restaurant?

We've found recently that Jake does well with diversions and "deals"; presenting him with choices or turning things around to make something seem like his idea are working well for us right now. (I will Jedi-mind trick my 3 year old as long as I can) Often times, conversations in our house go like this:

Jake: I want a cookie for breakfast.
Me: We don't eat cookies for breakfast, but you can have a pancake or cereal, which would you like?
Jake: throws himself to the ground and cries like I told him he can never eat another cookie ever again I WANT A COOKIE!!
Me: you can have the choices that I gave you, or you can have nothing...let me know.
Jake: continues to sob for a few moments, often runs out of the room, but eventually comes back and makes a choice

OR, letting him think something is his idea:

Me: Jake, you need to go to the potty before we leave the house.
Jake: I don't want to go potty.
Me:'re such a big boy now, I wonder if you can pull your pants & underwear down all by yourself? do you think you can? or maybe I'll have to help.....
Jake: no, no! I'm a big boy, I can do me!!

Sure, these things don't always work & sometimes I'm still stuck with a stubborn child who just won't budge once he gets an idea in his head. But we feel like at this point, if we're successful even part of the time, it's a win for us in the parenting department!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Big boy room teaser

We won't be doing Jake's big boy room until March, but of course I'm all giddy finding fun stuff to decorate it with. I wanted to do an animal theme but had a really hard time finding bedding and decor that didn't look babyish. After searching high & low, I gave up on the idea of finding an actual bedding set with animals & just decided to get a plain comforter (still looking for this, but I want green) and just buying fun accessories to pull in the animal theme. Here are some of the things we have for the room so far (his walls are bright yellow)....

Pillow & fun table lamp from IKEA:

BARNSLIG DJUR Cushion blue Length: 17 " Width: 17 "  Length: 43 cm Width: 43 cm  LAMPAN Table lamp red Height: 11 ½ " Base diameter: 5 " Shade diameter: 7 ½ " Cord length: 79 "  Height: 29 cm Base diameter: 13 cm Shade diameter: 19 cm Cord length: 200 cm
Wall art from Etsy seller JaneyMac:
Vinyl Wall Art - Safari Blocks-AC111

And some fun accessories from Kirklands (the first elephant, the tall elephant from the 2nd picture and a giraffe that I don't see online):

Overall, I'm happy with what I have so far---I feel like it still looks like a kid's room because of the bright colors, but I love the little statues I found at Kirklands that tie it all in without going overboard. Thoughts? Other stuff you've seen that would look cute? Let me know!

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