In Good Hands

This past weekend was the first time I've spend a night away from my little monkey.

Though it was difficult to be apart from my big guy it was fabulous to get some much needed sleep.

With my mother-in-law and sister-in-law in town to take care of my little dude it wasn't difficult to sleep easy, knowing he was in the best care.
Marcus sporting his new shark hat, courtesy of Aunt Carolyn.
Having so much fun with Grandma M!
Our little weekend get-away was perfect. However, I could not WAIT to get home to my chunky monkey.
Only 24 hours away from my little man and I couldn't believe how much I missed his sweet smile.
Thank you Grandma and Carolyn for taking care of the little monkey! We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much love.


Welcome Jameson!

Our good friends, Ashley and Jordan, and their daughter Abigail, welcomed the newest addition to their family this week!
Jameson Robert
7 pounds 9 ounces
19.5 inches long
June 26, 2012
You'd better believe I fully intend on Marcus and Jameson becoming fast friends once we return to KC! :)

To Jameson and family, we can't wait to get back to meet the little man!

We send our love to Jameson and his family!!


Sleepless in SoCal - Update

I love it when people come together to help each other out. Especially Mommies...

Thank you, thank you, thank you to each and every one of you who took a few seconds to share what worked/works for you when it comes to getting your little monkeys to sleep!
Here's proof!!! Swaddled, in the crib, ASLEEP!
We have made several changes to our bedtime (and nap time routine):
- Adding a bit of rice cereal to the last bottle of the evening (P.S. Why did no one mention that diaper changes would never be the same?!:)
- Swaddling our little guy as tight as possible (even though he still manages to Houdini himself out of it frequently)
- Keeping the big guy's room a bit cooler in the evenings (between 70 and 71 degrees)
- Giving gas drops after the last feeding
- Naps, when possible, are spent in the crib
- And, there was an evening where the big guy had to cry, and settle himself (thank you goes out to Grandma M and Aunt Carolyn for sticking to their guns for this not-so-easy task)

Maybe it's one of the aforementioned that has worked, or perhaps it's a compilation of everything, BUT the past two nights the monkey has slept 7 hours and almost 9 hours! HALLELUJAH!
Good Morning!!
A good night sleep means happy baby and happy Mommy!
Let's hope I'm not jinxing anything by getting this excited only two days into sleeping for more than two hours at a time, but, I think our monkey is finally getting the hang of this sleeping-through-the-night thing!!


Wedding Weekend

Great friends of ours were married this past weekend.
The ceremony and reception were simply stunning; held on a boat, cruising about the harbor in Newport Beach.
Congratulations Barb and BJ!!
The wedding festivities were fabulous. We are so grateful we were invited to share in such a wonderful day with the bride and groom.

Barb and BJ, we wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!!

In other, related news...
This was Scott and my first extended stay away from our little man - A HUGE THANK YOU to my mother-in-law, Katie, and sister-in-law, Carolyn, for watching our monkey. Scott surprised me with a mini-overnight get-away. After the wedding we CRASHED (*ahem* had nothing to do with the free champagne:). I'm quite certain I had more sleep Saturday night than I've had in the past three months. Combined.

Aside from the wedding, and all the sleep I was able to catch up on, here was the icing on the cake:
Don't mind the ice bucket bag drying on the left sink. I was just so giddy we had TWO sinks !
Whhaaattt?! TWO SINKS, in a HOTEL?! It's about as common as spotting Big Foot!


Happy Marcus Monday!

My little man has really been flexing his vocal cords lately. Hearing him "talk" to us make me smile and makes my heart melt.
Having a serious talk with Dad.
The other night I was busy in the kitchen when I heard Scott and my monkey chatting it up. I scrambled for the recorder and caught the last bit of their conversation.
Not to be out done, naturally I had to record a clip of a conversation between the big guy and me.
Happy Monday!


Three Months Old!

Three months, woohoo! My little man isn't so little any more.
I weighed and measured the big guy at home; we won't have the official stats for another month or so.
Height: 27-ish inches (approximately 97th percentile)
Weight: 18-ish pounds (approximately 97th percentile)
Upper left: Oooh, the camera. It's a captivating piece of equipment.
Upper right: Early morning = good mood
Lower left: So smiley
Lower right: Getting our giggle on.
What I've learned in the past month:
-It's amazing how functional I am with such little sleep. I thought I didn't get sleep while I was pregges. Pssshh. That doesn't hold a candle to now.
-We learned that a "pain" cry and a "need-sleep" cry sound veeeery similar. There may have been an episode where I couldn't figure out why my big guy was screaming. I was almost out the door to the ER when he fell asleep in my arms.
-Turns out a 6:00PM nap is CRUCIAL (see above).
-The torticollis seems to be getting better. However, the therapy involved is something left to be desired.
-Tummy Time is not something Marcus enjoys. At all.
-The best time to catch my monkey in a good mood is right after he wakes in the morning. He's all sorts of smiley and chatty.
-The makers of infant clothing clearly have no idea how to size clothes. NONE of Marcus' 3 month clothes fit, and he's fitting quite nicely into all of his 6 month outfits.
-Marcus "talks" differently with Daddy than he does with Mommy. Marcus seems to "talk" more with Daddy than Mommy. (See this coming Marcus Monday.)
-Not a day goes by where my baby boy doesn't amaze me, make me laugh, and make my heart melt.
Upper left: No photo shoot is complete without a closed-eye shot.
Upper right: Drake, as usual, makes the photo session as well.
Lower left: Can we be done?
Lower right: Blaahhhhh, this is for the birds!

Sleepless in SoCal

It's nearing 10:00PM, and as I type this my eyes are constantly flitting to the baby monitor. I'm sure that any minute the little monkey is going to wake up.
A nap in his snuggle bunny.
Since day one we've struggled to put Marcus down. And keep him asleep. In the beginning I chalked it up to all the nightly feeds that go with newborns. However, the big guy is no longer a newborn. He's three months, tomorrow.
Passed out on Mommy's legs after a little chit-chatting.
I keep hearing from others how their babies, who are younger than Marcus, are sleeping through the night. We've had exactly two nights where we haven't had to get up.
Not sure who appreciated this nap more...
I'm not supposed to compare my kiddo to others. But, it's so difficult not to.

We swaddle him. He fights to get his arms out, that wakes him. We leave him without a swaddle, he wakes himself with the jerk of an arm. It's a catch-22.
Snoozing on Mommy.
Sure, he sleeps during the day. In fact, his nap schedule is pretty consistent. It's those pesky nights that get to him. And us. If we go a solid four hours without waking up it's a miracle.

At three months I just can't bare to try the Ferber Method...
Actually napping in the crib - YAY!
Sleep suggestions welcome!


Super Easy Chicken Manicotti

Things around here have been busy. With what, exactly, I couldn't tell you. Apparently this is all par for the course of being a parent.

With Father's Day I just couldn't find time to put together freezer meals, like I'd been planning. Instead I managed to give the house a good cleaning (which it desperately needed), and made the hubs Cinnamon Roll Cake, per his request. Being Father's Day I was much obliged.

For the past week or so there has been a reoccurring theme of turkey burgers. Not that I don't like the burgers. Fact is, I LOVE them. Though they're super simple to make, the idea of actually prepping and making dinner in the evening is still a daunting task.

Insert latest freezer meal!

This was probably the easiest meal I've ever assembled. EVER. I made and froze two pans of this stuff. From start to finish it took me about 30 minutes (without bake time). The dish isn't winning any creativity points. I'll probably try to find some ricotta filling to throw in with the chicken. But, for what I needed (a meal, stat!), it was perfect.

Super Easy Chicken Manicotti 
1 - 26 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Ragu Heart Healthy Light)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 lb cooked, shredded chicken breast
14 uncooked manicotti shells (8 oz)
2 cups 2% shredded mozzarella

In medium bowl mix pasta sauce and water.
Spread about 1/3 sauce in bottom of 9x13 dish.
Sprinkle garlic salt and Italian seasoning over cooked, shredded chicken.
Stuff shells with chicken.
Place shells on pasta sauce.
Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells, covering completely.
Cover with foil.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 350.
Leave foil on pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until shells are tender.
Sprinkle with cheese, leave uncovered and bake for additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
If you plan to prep and make this on the same day, do not cook your chicken. Rather, cut the breast into strips (or use chicken breast tenders, found at your local grocer), and continue along with the recipe.
What's better than a super easy meal? Nutrition info that isn't going to scare the bejeezus out of you.
For three stuffed shells:
Calories - 396 (keep in mind, I used a light pasta sauce)
Total fat - 4.5 grams
Carbs - 48 grams
Fiber - 4 grams
Protein - 31 grams
Source: Slight adaptations from Betty Crocker


Finding Balance

Before Marcus arrived I swore up and down that our four-legged kiddo, Drake, would not be left in the shadow of the little monkey.
Drake attended each of photo session during the weekly pregnancy updates.
Then we brought our little man home... I thought after the first few weeks with our little monkey the regular amount of attention given to Drake would resume.
Spending much needed quality snuggle time.
Sadly, I was wrong. It seems as if no matter how hard I try, time spent with Drake is much less than I'd like to give, and far less than he deserves.

Drake is fabulous with Marcus.
Month One photo shoot.
Drake insists on partaking in all of our photo shoots.
Month Two photo shoot.
Toys, pacifiers, books and blankets left on the floor don't interest Drake, he prefers his own toys and treats.

But, I find I'm saying "No!" and getting frustrated more often with the furry big guy.
Often, the feeling of guilt washes over me, Drake deserves more. I'm hoping as Marcus gets older the time and attention given to Drake will increase, as he truly is a wonderful dog, and it's bothersome, thinking I'm neglecting such a loyal companion. 

Things eventually balance out, right? 


Happy Marcus Monday!

Ah, the many faces of my little one (all within about 10 minutes).
We start here....
Notice someone trying to manipulate the bottle on his own?
We progress to this...
Upper left: Na-na-naa boo boo...
Upper right: Mom, you're cramping my style.
Lower left: The many chins of Marcus.
Lower right: I see the blanket, therefore I want to EAT the blanket.
The result is this...
I pass him off to Daddy...
Upper left: Things aren't AS bad.
Upper right: Hey, you're not mom.
Lower left: Have to process things.
Lower right: Hmmm, this is alright. (Notice who's peaking at the camera.)
And, we end with this...
Happy Monday!


Happy Father's Day!!

To all you wonderful Dad's out there,
Three generations.
Grandpa D with the big guy.
Wonderful husband and AMAZING father!
I am so blessed.
A father is someone you look up to, no matter how tall you grow.


Scattered Thoughts

Phew - Friday! Music to my ears. It's been a long week around here. Scott put in some SERIOUS hours at work, my monkey gave me some very trying days, and I'm pretty sure I've accumulated no more than 15 hours of sleep this week.

But, it's all good. There are worse things in life, right?

With that said, the hubs is at work, the monkey is asleep (for now), and I thought I'd put together a quick compilation of a few things that I enjoy, and think you might, too.

If you've been keeping up, Greek yogurt has stolen my heart. Lucky for me, there's a Chobani conversion chart that shows you just when to use the yogurt, and exactly how much. I may never bake/cook with sour cream again.

I've been following a few new blogs lately...
Iowa Girl Eats has quickly become a new favorite. Not only is this blogger a runner, she cooks, she bakes, and she's from IOWA! Yay for the Midwest!! No, I don't follow her simply because she's from Iowa. You should see the stuff she bakes/cooks. I've been tempted to lick my computer screen... Don't judge. Once you see what she puts together you'll probably do the same.
Last week she posted about Soft Sugar Cookies with Cookie Dough Frosting! Drool.
Photo Source: Iowa Girl Eats
You just tried to lick your screen, didn't you? See, told ya.

Another new favorite blog of mine is Lil' Blue Boo. Blogger Ashley is amazing. Not only is she a mom, she's so incredibly crafty! She has her own clothing line of some of the most adorable kids clothes, and often times she has FREE tutorials on how to make kiddo clothing, along with other various crafts she's managed to whip up. Oh, and did I mention she's winning the battle over cancer?! She radiates nothing but positivity, and her Choose Joy campaign rocks.
Here's a post, Boys of Summer, where she has a FREE printable for kiddos to color. The colored masterpiece can then be transferred onto a t-shirt. Awesome!
Photo Source: Lil' Blue Boo
Get your creativity on, check out this blog!!

Ah, I hear a little monkey screech. That's my cue. Quite time is over.
Check out the sites and let me know if you use the conversion chart. I'll be back next week with my own material. :)


Yogurt Pancakes

Greek yogurt is seriously the best stuff on earth. Why was I not introduced to this sooner?! If you haven't checked out the Peanut Butter Fruit Dip you must! The use of Greek yogurt in that is awe-some! The use of the yogurt in these pancakes is equally as awesome.

I'm not even a breakfast food fan. Heck, as a general rule, I don't even really like pancakes. But, this recipe called to me. Honestly, I just want to use this yogurt where ever I can. And, since I've purchased about six containers of the good stuff in the past three days this recipe keeps staring me down (the recipe is right on the yogurt container). Beat it Bisquick, there's a new pancake in our house!

These are light, fluffy, and even for the non-pancake fan, they are good!
P.S. You probably have all these ingredients in your pantry, so there's really no excuse not to make these.

Yogurt Pancakes
1 1/2 cups no fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (totally optional, I put cinnamon in about anything I think it will taste good)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
Combine all ingredients.
For each pancake use no more than 1/4 cup batter - these puppies expand!
Cook to desired done-ness.
Flip, cook to desired done-ness.
Top with your favorite toppings.
Check out these nutrition facts:
Calories: 45 - FORTY-FIVE, THAT'S IT!!!
Fat: 1 gram
Carbs: 13 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Make these. Seriously. I'll just go ahead and say it now, you're welcome.
Source:  Chobani


Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken & Rice - A Freezer Meal

The trusty crock pot. I cannot imagine life without it. I'd have one very hungry husband, and many stressful afternoons of trying to figure out what to put on our plates at night, and even more stressful afternoon trying to figure out just how that food was going to prepare itself.

Chalk another one up for a freezer meal to save the day, and spare me the stress!

I liked this meal. Scott liked this meal. Shoot, I think even your pickiest eater would like this meal!

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken & Rice
4 chicken breasts

1 large onion, chopped
1 - 8 oz box of yellow rice mix, prepared as directed on label (cook just prior to serving meal)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 - 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 can whole kernel corn, drained

Place chicken and chopped onions in a large zip lock bag.
Remove as much air from bag as possible and seal.

To bake:
Make rice according to label instructions.
Thaw chicken/onions.
In the crock pot place the chicken and onions.
Spoon cream of chicken soup over chicken.
Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
An hour prior to serving add rice, corn, and cheese.
Stir to combine.
Serve hot.

Source: Slight adaptation from Southern Plate


The Pacifier Clip

Like many babies, Chunky Monkey enjoys his pacifier. He also seems to enjoy spitting his pacifier out. Because of this, we snagged a few pacifier clips. Chunky Monkey can spit out his pacifier, and Mommy and Daddy don't have to go scrambling to find the thing, or worse yet, lose it all together (no bueno when we're out and about and pacifier-less).
One of our pacifier clips is a real bugger to open and close. I'm talking, use-all-of-your-muscles-tear-some-skin-from-your-finger tough. Said clip is pictured above. To get the clip opened or closed is challenging, but once attached to Chunky Monkey's shirt it becomes a permanent fixture. When that puppy snaps shut it's ON.
See those nasty little teeth on the clip? This mommy thought she'd gotten Chunky Monkey's shirt pulled far enough away from his skin prior to clipping (do you see where this is headed??). Not so much. The clip snapped shut and my little man's eyes flew wide open, tears IMMEDIATELY formed, and he let out the most heart-wrenching cry/scream (even worse than when he had his vaccination shots)

My stomach instantly flew into my throat. I couldn't believe I'd just inflicted so much pain on my precious little boy. :(
A little red welt quickly formed. 
My monkey and I spent a good portion of the afternoon snuggling after the clipping.

I'm having a tough time getting over the incident. Words cannot express how terrible I felt/feel. Lucky for me, Chunky Monkey was quick to forgive and forget...
Later that day my big guy was flashing me all sorts of smiles.
Most days I think I'm doing a pretty good job at being a mommy. However, on this particular day Chunky Monkey probably wouldn't have nominated me for Mommy of the Year.