Found this sweet little goodie on the curb on the way to lunch with a friend.
I initially thought, "Awesome!  Perfect for our backyard.  Jack will love it one day!  I'll pick that up on the way home!"
As I drove on past, I remembered a few weeks ago when I spotted some AMAZING storage shelves (I guess as amazing as storage shelves can be) on the curb, went home, asked Jeff to go get them and by the time he got there...they were gone.  I was so disappointed.
So, what did I do?  Circled the block, and shoved them in the back, on top of the stroller and various sundry baby items. 
I can sooooooo picture Jack sitting at his table, munching on lunch with a friend, fighting over who has to sit in the pink chair. 
Eek!  I love it!

Mommy's Late Afternoon Snack

I wanted chocolate...and had none. 
So I settled for this lovely duo. 
Is this what mom's do?  Eat their kids snacks with a glass of wine?
Or is it just me?

Poor Vincent

It's all over for poor Vincent...Jack's cruising around all over the place!  He is now pulling up on everything, from the coffee table to the couch to his musical table.  And where is his favorite place to pull up?  Wherever Vincent happens to be.  He LOVES Vincent!  Sadly, his love is not really returned.  But Jack doesn't really care!  While Vincent winces at Jack's shrieks, little does he know that he is the exact cause of the joyful noise! 

Isn't he just precious???  One day Jack and Vincent will be best day.


Now, this is what we do. 
This is what we do when we're supposed to be going to sleep. 
We do this 5 times before we actually take our nap...and we haven't figured out how to sit down on our own yet.
So we wail until mommy comes and helps us sit down.
So we can stand up again.

9 Months

As I continue on in my quest to switch Jack over to only table foods, life goes on. 

Today we had our 9 month appointment!  I get excited and a little nervous as each check up draws near.  Last week I read that a 9 month old should have no more than 24 oz of formula, so I quickly adjusted Jack so I would be able to tell Dr F that Jack was only drinking 24 oz.  I told Jeff months ago that Jack better be crawling by our 9 month appointment!  I didn't want to tell the dr that he wasn't!!  (PS thank you Jack, you must have overheard me and decided to just wait as long as possible to fulfill my wish) I worry that he isn't eating enough and will have dropped in percentage in weight, worry that his head will have grown in percentage so that we'll have to have the forewarned MRI.  I just worry.

Our appointment was a 2 this afternoon and it went great!  Jack is 21 lbs, still 50th percentile and 29 inches, still 75th percentile and still a huge head, but it hasn't increased in percentile, which was just what we were hoping!  He did have to get a shot (so sad!) and a finger prick to check for anemia, which was even worse than the shot!  They pricked his finger and had to squeeze it to fill a tube with his drops of blood!  Poor baby. 

All in all, a great appointment!  Dr F did ask me if he was cruising, like standing up and holding on to things to get around.  Um, no.  He's not.  I hate it when he asks me developmental questions and the answer is no!  So my quest tonight has been to get him to do that.  Which he totally did...honest!  He will do anything to get to the remote control, and he cruised from one side of the table to the other to get it!  He also asked if he was pulling up.  Well, does pulling up once count?  Because he did that the other it counts, right?  I also used the remote to try to coerce him to pull up on the coffee table, but he does this awkward thing where he tries to pull up and ends up with most of his body under the table so his little arms and chin are the only thing peeking out!  So, no pulling up...until....

Jack was taking an abnormally long time to go to bed.  These days, we zip up his sleep sack, say his good night prayer, turn on the white noise machine, and he's out!  Easy, easy.  Every once in a while he chatters a little before he goes to sleep, and if we let him chat it out, he'll eventually fall asleep.  Well, tonight he was chatting up a storm...which turned to crying...which turned to I finally peeked in the door...he was standing up in his crib!  Poor baby, he couldn't figure out how to sit down once he'd gotten up.  His eyes were red and swollen...we felt so bad!!  If I didn't feel so bad, I would have taken a picture to prove, my baby can pull up!

Cupcake Wars

If you watch the Food Network as much as I do, you know that Cupcake Wars a new show they've been promoting lately.  In the promo there is a cupcake explodes, and is really quite cool. 

Last weekend there was a cupcake war on Morning Glory.  There were almost exploding cupcakes and it wasn't very cool.

The past Saturday, I was one of the hostesses for a wedding shower for a family friend of Jeff's.  All of us hostesses got together about a month ago and split up shower responsibilities, and I took on the responsibility of making cupcakes!  I made cupcakes for my sister's housewarming party a few months ago and knocked those cherry cupcakes out of the park, so I was feeling pretty confident that I could come up with something equally lovely for the shower. 

I found a recipe on a blog for lemon cupcakes with strawberry butter-cream frosting.  Sounds good, huh!  And look how cute!  I wanted that adorable polka dot plate for my cupcakes, too! 

So, with the shower drawing near, I got busy on my 4 dozen lemon cupcakes, found a lemon recipe and made it even more lemon-y by filling the cupcakes with a lemon filling...they were so good.  Saturday morning before the shower, I got up and gave Jeff baby duty so I could get busy on the frosting. 

I knew there were potential problems with the frosting recipe.  First of all, strawberries juice, and with too much juicing, the balance of the powered sugar and the liquid and I can see it getting messy real quick.  I diced up the strawberries and mashed the heck out of the, doing my best to de-juice them before putting them in the frosting.  The frosting recipe was a cream cheese butter cream recipe...sounds so good, right?!?!?!?  So I'm creaming the butter and cream cheese, add in the powered sugar, add in the strawberries, it tastes SO good.  I'm mixing away!  I decided it needed a bit more powered sugar, so added that, it was really coming together.

And then it happened.  My butter separated.  I'd over mixed the frosting, making enough friction to melt the butter just enough to make it separate.  And that, my friends, is the death for a frosting.  I saw it happen.  It had happened once before when I was making peanut butter frosting for a cake for Jeff to take to work.  It tasted find, just looked terrible!  Ok, looking terrible is ok for a work party...but not a wedding shower!  The cake or in this case, cupcakes are like the crowning jewel to any shower display! 

Quick!  I put it in the fridge, hoping to save it...but knowing it was beyond saving.  Even put it in the freezer in a vain attempt to make it work.  I'm pretty good at making it work, but this might just put me over the edge.  I frost one cupcake, take it to Jeff, he eats it and says it's the frosting runs down his arm.  EEK!  What to do!!  I'm supposed to be at the host's house at 9:30 and it's 8:30 now! 

I won't go into the argument that ensued, with Jeff doing his best to convince me that cupcakes with melty frosting didn't matter, to take them anyway, they'd love them.  Um. no.  Big fat no.  There was arguing and doing my best to refrain from pelting him with said cupcakes, and I packed up my bag and did what any self respecting hostess with failed cupcakes would do.....went to Central Market, picked up 6 boxes of chocolate cupcakes and some raspberries to garnish.  Those gourmet store bought goodies were what mine should have looked like, so I ploped them down on that tray with finesse. 

Cupcake disaster adverted, thanks to the glorious Central Market.  I'm willing to be that my cupcakes weren't the only cooking disaster Central Market has saved. 

You might ask what happened to the 4 dozen cupcakes that were dis-invited to the shower....well, they were crumbled and put into a lemon trifle for our Bible study dessert last night, and they will make their next and last appearance tonight in mini trifles for a dinner party.  See, I'm good at making things work!


When I say Jillian, what do you think about?  I think about 2 things. 

One, a student I once had who was an only child, too smart for her britches, and frankly quite annoying.  Yes, I loved all of my students, including her, she was just a little tougher to love!  But really, aren't we all?

Two, I think of Jillian from Biggest Loser.  Jeff and I went through a Biggest Loser phase and watched it religiously.  I mean, really, it's amazing.  I loved Bob, he's so nice, encouraging...but Jillian?  She's so mean!  Yelling all the time, getting in people's faces...I always told Jeff if she was my trainer, I'd punch her in the face.

Well, time to get the brass knuckles out.  Today I started the 30 Day Shred with Jillian. 

These last 20 pregnancy pounds are still hanging on....and have been for far too long.  And don't seem to be going anywhere fast.  You might ask me what happened to Mc Fatty Mondays.  Well, they went out the window.  Part of my problem, with diets, workouts and pretty much life, is that I have a hard time doing the same things over and over again.  I get bored with workouts, counting calories gets overbearing...and so I quit.  So, Mc Fatty Mondays went out the window and in flew the cupcakes that infiltrated my house last weekend (another post...), Sunday night pizza dinners, and anything else that I could stick in my pie hole. 

***PS I just turned around to look at Jack who was sitting and playing on the floor 5 feet from me about 2 minutes ago, and he was gone.  He's completely crawling, ya'll!  He was in the other room...***

So, it's time to get out the big guns, and by big guns I mean Jillian.  The 30 Day Shred seems like it might be a good fit for commit to doing it for 30 days.  That's it!  I like things that have an end to them.  Maybe that's why teaching was such a good fit for know that in June, you're done with school!  Woohoo!  In this case, of course, the wise thing to do is to choose to do it for another 30 days, so we'll just hope I choose wisely.  Another great thing about the program is that it's just 20 minutes a day.  That's it!  It's a 3-2-1 circuit, 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs.  Do that 3 times with a little warm up and cool down and you're done! 

I'd read reviews that told me I'd want to cuss her out (which I was totally prepared to do...Jeff was still at work and Jack was napping) but honestly, it wasn't that bad.  I know I'll be feeling it tomorrow, because I'm pretty sure I used every muscle in my body, which is a good thing!  Before you know it, it's over.  Now, I might not be saying that on day 15, but for now, I can see that it's doable.   I did Mc Fatty Mondays and counted my calories for 30 days back at the beginning of the year, so 30 days is totally doable! 

So, day 1?  Down!  Just 29 more.

New tricks!

Not only are we transitioning to table food, Jack has a few more tricks up his sleeve for his turning 9 months party!

When we were in Gruene, Jack woke up from a nap and Jeff went to get him out of the pack and play and found him sitting up!  Yes, he's been sitting up on his own for the past 3 months, but now he can get himself to sit up!  So now every time we go to get him in his crib, this is what we find.

Looks like a little jailbird!

He is also really moving around right now!  I wouldn't consider it a full on crawl quite yet, but he's doing this kinda inch worm thing where he gets up on his knees and lunges forwards, arms stretched out.  The up on his knees, then get the picture.  It's so fun to see which toys he's actually choosing to play with rather than just having to play with whatever's close by.  His favorite thing to "crawl" for is the remote control.  What is it about the remote control?  I have no idea, but he absolutely loves it!  It is by far his favorite thing.  Jeff got him to crawl all the way around the coffee table using the remote control as bait!  Go Jack, go!

Newest goal...

is to completely switch Jack over to table food.  I can't help it, I'm so ready to not sit down and spoon feed the little munchkin every few hours!  And since yesterday was his 9 month birthday (I can't believe it) it's totally do-able.  His newest favorite game, and probably the largest contributing factor to my newest quest, is having a mouth full of food and spitting it out, projectile style all over anything in his near vicinity.  Um, not fun.  And maybe it makes me a bad mom, but when he starts doing that, I can't help but feel anger rise inside of me...which makes me promptly decide that he's done eating.  He loves to make funny spitting noises all the time, which I love!  What I don't love is when he's making those noises with a mouth full of food.  Hence the need to start the transition to finger foods for meals! 

So, lately, his meals have consisted of the following: 

Breakfast: 1/4 whole wheat waffle, a cooked egg yolk, a few cheerios and some small diced apple. 
After nap snack:  Yo Baby! yogurt and a vanilla wafer
Lunch:  a whole banana, a few saltine crackers, a cheddar cheese stick
As you know, our first experience with chicken was a big fat FAIL, but lately, he's been doing great with chicken!  Not pureed chicken, just diced chicken.  Yay! 
Afternoon snack: some type of fruit usually in the mesh feeder.  He loves frozen oranges, mango, and apples in there!
Dinner:  diced chicken, diced roasted sweet potato, diced roasted apples, a few homemade macaroni and cheese noodles, diced fresh green beans

Every once in a while, we'll throw in a jar of baby food, and it also depends on if we're out to eat or at home, but this has kinda become the standard.  He's still drinking 3 bottles equaling 24oz of formula each day, so this is just on top of that! 

I do try to buy mostly organic, especially with the chicken and eggs.  For some reason, those two things stand out more to me than the fruits and veggies...who knows why...and I've been buying organic baby yogurt.  I really do want to do my best to stay partially to mostly organic for Jack, I just feel like it has to be more healthy than serving up some hormone pumped protein or dairy!  So, I'll do my best for as long as I stuff is expensive, ya'll! 

Another adjustment to Jack's new self feeding takes a good 45 minutes for each meal to go down.  Not for me to get it ready, for him to eat it!  He'll sit in his high chair for at least 30 minutes, usually closer to 45  minutes or an hour, just munching his way through his smorgasbord of a meal.  And he's completely happy and loving it!

Welcome to the Farm

My very first tomato is turning red!  And some varmint best not get to my tomato before I do.

But if he does, I've got 20 more growing!  That's right, people, TWENTY!!!

Funny thing is that I don't even really like tomatoes...

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Jeff had a little time off this week, so we headed down to Gruene, TX for a little R and R!  We found this cute little cottage really close to downtown Gruene, and it was just adorable. 

We stayed in the back suite of this house and while everything worked out great, it made me glad to have a home with more than one room...I'm just saying. 

Traveling with a little one is an interesting feat.  You basically do the same things you do at home, except you lug all the crap you need to do what you do at home wherever you're going.  Jack isn't a super high maintenance baby, which is good, but I will say he has had better days...

We ate at the famous Gristmill overlooking the Guadalupe River...

walked around adorable downtown Gruene...

and went swimming!

Some one's a big fan of the pool!  And doesn't his hair kinda remind you of Conan?  Just sayin'.

Jeff and I played a lot of Skip Bo...a baby still sleeps a lot while on vacation, so we had quite a bit of downtime. 

On night two, we ate at the Gruene River Grill and it was the food was so good!  Our appetizer consisted of a cheesy jalapeno won-ton wrapped shrimp with raspberry chipotle dipping sauce and it was DELICIOUS!  And I got a Gorgonzola and herb butter fillet which was very yummy...but I have to say, the best part of dinner was Jack's obsession with our waitress.  He was in love with her and the whole time we were there, was looking for her to come back.  He even turned himself around backwards in his high chair so he could see the kitchen door!  So funny.   

The real excitement started on our last night.  At about 4am, Jeff and I both woke up to a crazy thunderstorm.  Like sheets of rain and lightening constantly kind of thunderstorm.  And not the far away lightening, where you count to see how far away it was.  This was lightening that pops and thunders immediately, because it was right outside our back door!  Well, usually, those types of storms come and go pretty quickly...not this one!  Finally, at 6:30 Jack woke up and we all got up...and the crazy lightning and thundering and heavy rain was still going on.  We did our little morning routine, wondering what we should do.  I mean, it was really raining out there!  We sat around a bit, but were getting kinda 7:30am it'd been raining heavily for at least 3 hours...and we were right by the river.  The satellite TV was out, but we were checking the radar on my iPhone and could see that the storm wasn't moving at all.  While we're doing our contemplating, we hear a gush of water and turn around to see that the outer wall of the suite was completely leaking and pooling on the floor.  Jeff says, "Ok, time to go."  About 3 seconds after that, the electricity goes out.  Really?? 

So I'm scurrying around in the dark, trying to pack all of our baby paraphernalia up, doing what should take about an hour in 5 minutes, while Jeff packs the car.  With in 10 minutes we're in the car, buckled in and on our way out.  The drive from Gruene to I35 was crazy...flooded streets, torrential rain...I honestly felt like we were in a movie!  We were driving about 30 mph, but it seemed like even that was too fast!  We found a local AM talk radio station that confirmed our decision to leave...and our decision to drive 30 mph.  People were calling in, sharing road closures, canceled summer school because of flooding in the schools, emergency management people telling everyone to stay off the was scary!!!  My dad called to make sure we were ok because he'd been watching the news:

GRUENE, Texas -- There has been major flooding in the historic town of Gruene.

Authorities say they started receiving calls for high water rescues, lightning strikes, and fires around 3 a-m.

Three helicopters were launched to search for stranded people.

They pulled dozens of people to safety from roof tops. Many took to tree branches to avoid the rising water.

But, there was nothing they could do to save the Rockin' R Tube Rentals.  It was smashed and torn apart by violent flood waters, and it is a similar story in most other parts of the small town.

Water rose above one Gruene bridge, but it could not rise enough to affect landmarks like The Gristmill or Gruene Hall.

In a community west of Gruene, known as River Bend, it was a different story. The water and the wind packed a one-two punch on about 100 homes. With trees torn apart , some residents swore a tornado had struck.

Like a colony of ants, neighbors, who could not wait for the city to come to their aid, came out to clear the debris themselves. Neighbor helping neighbor.

On land, the storm toppled boats, as the Guadalupe pushed everything but the kitchen sink down the river.

And here's a video of what was going on across the street from our cabin...if you've ever tubed the Guadalupe, there's a big chance you've rented your tube from Rockin' R Tubes, right off the river in Gruene.  I know I have!  If you're going tubing any time soon, I'd recommend looking for another place to get you're tubes from.

Pretty much the entire drive home was in torrential rain.  It took us about 2 hours longer to get home than it did to get there, and by the time we were home, we were completely worn out!!  And very thankful to be ok. 

So, a great vacation!  Relaxation, good eating, and a little bit of excitement to boot!

Party in the Hood

At our church, we talk a lot about loving on the people you are surrounded by.  Knowing your co-workers and neighbors and showing them the love of Christ, living the Gospel out in front of them, and sharing what makes you like the disciples lived!

Jeff and I have lived in our lovely house for over 3 years now.  We love it, we love our neighborhood, love our immediate neighbors...but other than the neighbors to our left, right, and across the street, there were a lot of people that we don't know.  It's silly, really.  We wave as we drive by, but don't know their names or anything about them.

A few weeks ago, we decided that it was time to have a street party.  A good ole fashioned neighborly summer cook out, get everyone together, and hang out!  I love hosting get togethers, and was super excited about the idea!  So I printed out little invites, and Jeff and I put on our friendly faces, and made our way up and down the street in the Texas heat and humidity, knocking on doors and making friends.  We brought Jack along, thinking that we'd probably look a lot less scary strolling a baby than we would, just two random people, sweating to death, standing on your porch.  The trip itself was a success, because we met a bunch of really friendly people, and everyone seemed really excited about the party!

Last Saturday was the big day...I put out extra flower pots, spent my life savings on citronella candles and OFF!, set out extra tables, unwrapped paper plates and flatware...and sat down to wait...ok, not really, I get kinda antsy before things happen, so I just walked around making sure the beer was cold enough or that we had enough limes.  It's the important things, you know?  :)Our Casey James fan of a neighbor showed up a little early, left her dessert, and went home to change for the party...LOVE! 

We had a great turn out and had so much fun!  About 20 neighbors showed up and had such a good time.  Jeff cooked up hamburgers and hot dogs and everyone brought a side dish or dessert to share.  The food was delicious and it was so nice to get to know everyone!

We also invited 2 young families that we know who don't technically live on our street, but still in the hood, so Jack could have some playmates.  And play they did!!  Can't you just picture these boys in about 7 years or so, riding their bikes to each other's houses to play?  I love it! 

The party was great, we really feel like we met so many nice people and were so glad to have the opportunity to love on our neighbors, and honestly can't wait to do it again.  Jeff and I are also committed to not just allowing this to be a once and done type of thing...we're hoping to have another street party in the fall, and invite a neighbor over for dinner once a week or so to really build these relationships and live life together!  It's funny, we've recieved 5 or 6 very sweet thank you notes in our mailbox this week...although it's in our sin nature to not really want to be known, in reality, it feels so good to be cared for.

The early church is the perfect picture of how we should live, reaching out to those around us, living together and loving each other.  We  pray that we can become more of a picture of what that looks like in 2010.

Paci Love