Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010--Part 2

On the morning of the 27th, we headed to Nacogdoches. We got to work assisting with food preparations for the Christmas spread, but there were plenty of others to love on our baby. We spent the evening of the 27th with Justin's dad and stepmom. We had a nice time visiting with them, although I forgot to take any pictures. Then we had Christmas with my family on the evening of the 28th.

I have to give photo credit to my brother, Matt, for all of the photos. He had his fancy schmancy camera out and was snapping away so I didn't even bother. Thanks Matt!

Making the ham rolls--a traditional family favorite of my Grandmother's. Ham, cream cheese and spices. Wouldn't be Christmas without them. Yum.

The delicious spread.
  With all of the food in place, it was time for family photos....

Josh, Melody (+1, due in August!), Scarlette, Tristan and of course, Rhett the dog

Our little family.

Marc, Crystal and Annabelle

Pop with the grandsons
Gram and Pop with all the Grands

How cute is he with his little Converse sneakers? (a gift from his Granny and Papa John!)

The large (and growing!) group!

"Ok, do a silly one!"
After picture time, we got to eat! After sufficiently stuffing ourselves, Justin and I loaded up the car with all the little ones so Santa could come. We took them to enjoy what was left of the Christmas lights while singing Christmas carols. I love getting to do that. When we came back, Santa had come!

The stockings were hung (and filled!) by the chimney with care...

And Annabelle acted out the Christmas story while Marc did the reading.

Then Pop read the Cajun Night Before Christmas.

Then it was time to open presents! Jackson must have been a VERY good boy this year as he had quite the haul! He was into opening them for the first few rounds but the clock was quickly approaching his bedtime and he was content to just sit and watch.

Tristan received Band Hero, so after the present opening, it provided fun for the whole family!
We will spend one more day here in Nac and then return home tomorrow morning. It was been a wonderful holiday filled with family, good memories, and so much fun enjoying our first Christmas with our little boy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010--Part 1

Jackson's first Christmas was wonderful! We upheld our tradition of splitting the holiday between Dallas and Nacogdoches, with Dallas first this year. We arrived at Justin's moms house late on Christmas Eve Eve and spent Christmas Eve hanging out with Jackson's Nana, G-Paw, and Uncle Cody. Later in the day, Justin's neice, Kyndra, and her mom came over and Jackson got to play with his cousin. She was so sweet with him and wanted to share her toys with him. That night, we had a nice visit with Justin's stepbrother and sister-in-law, Chris and Elexis.

We woke up Christmas morning, made monkey bread, and Jackson got to check out his stocking and the few little presents from us that we brought with us. (We left his big present, a toy chest, back at home).

Really? Pictures this early in the morning?

Let me see how this firetruck book tastes...

I do believe his G-Paw adores him. And the feelings are certainly mutual!

Some toys are just as much fun for the parents... =)

At lunchtime, Grandma Ann, Aunt Judy and Uncle Jerry arrived. We had a delicious lunch, exchanged gifts, started putting together a puzzle, and just enjoyed one another's company.

Jackson with his Aunt Judy and Great Grandma Ann

"My name is Cynthia, I like to dance!" Jackson thought his Nana's dancing was hilarious!

On the day after Christmas, we made our annual trek to Northpark, for the first time with baby in tow!
"Ok, I'll shop with you as long as Sophie can come too"

Aunt Judy met us there and she got some quality time with Jackson in while I found some good deals at Loft!

"Nom, nom, nom"
After the mall, we headed to Arlington to see Justin's Aunt Janet and G.G. We were slackers and completely forgot to take any pictures of this visit, but we enjoyed getting to see them too! The next morning it was off to Nacogdoches for Christmas part 2...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

82 Degrees in December!

Last week, Jackson's daycare was closed, so Justin and I worked half days with one of us spending the morning with him and one of us the afternoon. On Tuesday, Justin was enjoying the afternoon shift and he and Jackson had gone to do some last minute Christmas shopping. When they returned late in the afternoon, every smoke alarm in our house was going off. Justin left Jackson in the truck in the driveway and ran inside to check it out. It didn't appear that anything was on fire, but he called me to come home so he could deal with it and then called the fire department. This is what I came home to....

It was such a pretty day, sunny and with temperatures in the 80s so there were lots of families outside playing and enjoying the unseasonably nice weather. So when the firetruck arrived, all of the little boys in the neighborhood came out and enjoyed the spectacle. The firemen determined that we just had a faulty smoke detector. Once all of the commotion had settled down, we decided to also take advantage of the nice day and take Jackson to the neighborhood park for the first time.

Now that he can sit up on his own, he was ready for the swing. He loved it!

Higher mommy, higher!


But he liked swinging with mommy even more!

 And then he got to try out the slide!

With the sun setting, it was time to head home, but not without a special ride back to the car atop Daddy's shoulders!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Better late than never!

From our home to yours....

I had intended to post these on Christmas Eve but we had travelled to Justin's mom's house and for some reason I can't get my computer to talk to their wireless network. We had a lovely first Christmas there with Jackson's Nana, G-Paw and all of the Dallas relatives. We are now in Nacogdoches for Christmas Part 2 with my family. We hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Green Monkey!

Jackson got a new toy that he just loves. It's his green monkey. He thinks it's hilarious when we make green monkey talk or dance. See for yourself and also see how he looks like such a big kid sitting up and playing with his toys!

Thanks Carol B. for the green monkey! Jackson adores it!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

6 Month Doctors Visit

On his half year birthday, Jackson also had his 6 month well-baby check up. He's doing great!

Here are his updated stats:
Weight- 17 lbs, 6 oz (50th%)--2 lbs, 3 oz gained since 4 month visit
Length- 26 1/2 in (50th%)--1 inch grown since 4 month visit
Head Circumference- 17.3 inches (65-75th%)--1/2 inch grown since 4 month visit

Waiting politely for the doctor.

He was wonderful for the doctor and she declared him perfect once again! Once she left, we had to wait for the nurse to come in to give him his immunizations. That's when the paper wadding/shredding/eating began.

Paper is almost as much fun as my feet, mom!

Hopefully Santa and his elves got the memo--all he really wants for Christmas is the wrapping paper!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Half a year old!!

How is it possible that my baby is 6 months old? He's becoming such a big boy! This month he started sitting up on his own, (sort of) eating solid foods, and began to show us his exuberant personality including glimpses of a willful little boy with a mind of his own. Now, if he doesn't want to do something, he will arch his back and squirm to avoid doing whatever it is we want him to do, such as wipe his nose (gosh he hates that!).

Eating solid foods is a work in progress. He has now tried rice cereal (hated), bananas (meh), and avocados (perhaps a little better than meh). But he does seem to enjoy any of the three above mixed together a little more than he likes them on their own. What can I say, he has a sophisticated palate. =) Last night, I think he actually consumed about 6 spoonfuls of "banacado" deliciousness. He is definitely enjoying getting to play in the food and typically makes a huge mess of it. Here's a pic of the first time he had wore avocado:

We will be trying sweet potatoes this weekend! Wish us luck!

He loves to roughhouse and play and seems to be quite the adrenalin junky! He squeals with delight when his daddy throws him up in the air, hangs him upside down or does basically anything that makes mommy nervous. He thinks it's hilarious to be startled--one of us hides and then pops up with a loud "BOO" and he will jump but then laugh hysterically. He rolls over easily, can maneuver from a sitting position to his tummy with ease, and is pushing up more on his arms. He can inchworm along and pivot in any direction while on his tummy. It won't be long now until he's on the move!

He's such a happy baby. Even when we wake him up in the morning, it takes him a few minutes to really wake up but then he is all smiles. On weekends, he wakes us up by just jabbering--almost a whisper at first (so polite!) but progressively louder and more excited until one of us gets up with him.

This month he really started to grab everything within, the napkin on the table, mommy's hair... And he's gotten much better at manipulating objects in his hands, now able to rotate an item to put a specific part of it in his mouth. He's gotten to open a few Christmas presents already and he was really into tearing the paper. Speaking of tearing paper, stay tuned for my next post covering his trip to the doctor for his 6 month well check!

Happy half year little buddy! We love you!

p.s. taking the monthly pictures is harder with each passing about a few outtakes, shall we?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He's just stinking cute!

Be prepared! I just took about 3 weeks worth of videos off of our Flip camera so the next few posts will be video heavy. I know we've already posted a video of him blowing raspberries but he's just too cute in this one not to share. At about the 45 second mark, he is just so proud of himself for being able to do it! And maybe I'm just a teensy bit proud of him too. =)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meal Plan Monday (12/13-12/17)

Ahhh we survived our crazy week! I feel like we are now in the downhill slope to the holidays. Hooray! So we are back with our Meal Plan Monday! But first, an update on Jackson's adventures in solid food...

The verdict on rice cereal is a definite no, but bananas pureed with some milk were not rejected quite as quickly! We're making progress!

Not impressed....

Exhausted from all that eating effort.

Food is out but TOES are in!!

Not even remotely related to eating but how cute are my boys?
On to this week's menu...

Monday- chicken pot pie from the freezer (recipe below)
Tuesday- Chicken Tortellini Soup with Zucchini and Tomatoes
Wednesday- We are having the Aggie Orientation Leader Execs over for a potluck dinner. I am making Apple Dumplings for dessert. Thanks for the recipe R-Bert!
Thursday- we subbed something last week for the baked grouper so we are putting it on the menu again this week.
Friday- we are doing a powercook evening and knocking out dinner for Friday and Saturday night as well as putting a few dishes in the freezer for later. We will be making homemade lasagna (recipe below) and shepherd's pie. With both of these recipes, the base is ground beef, garlic and onions and so we will just saute about 5 pounds of it and have enough for a big lasagna for company on Saturday night, one smaller lasagna for the freezer, one Shepherd's Pie for Friday night and one for the freezer.

Chicken Pot Pie
2 cans cream of chicken soup
16 oz frozen or canned mixed vegetables
2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken (we cook ~3 chicken breasts in the crock pot with some garlic, onions, celery, and seasonall)
1/2  cup milk
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
2- 9" refrigerated pie crusts (it makes 2 so you can eat one right away and freeze the other for later!)
Combine first 6 ingredients (we just dump it all in the crock pot with the cooked, shredded chicken so there's only one dirty pot to clean). Spoon mixture into prepared pie crusts. Cover each with the top crusts. Crimp edges with fork to seal. Slit top crust before baking. If baking immediately, bake uncovered at 375 for 40 minutes. If freezing, cover first with saran wrap and then tightly with 2 layers of foil. When baking the frozen one, remove from freezer and place in refrigerator 12-24 hours in advance so it can thaw some. Bake on 375-400 for 1 hr+ depending on how long it thawed. Done when the crust is golden brown and internal temp reached ~140 degrees.

1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. basil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 reg can diced tomatoes
2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
1 can mushrooms
1 box lasagna noodles
2 eggs
3 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb Mozzarella cheese

Brown meat slowly; drain extra fat. Add next 6 ingredients and 1 cup water. Simmer covered for 15 minutes; stir often. Cook noodles in boiling, salted water until tender; drain and rinse. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add remaining ingredients, except mozzarella.

Spray a 13x9 (or 2 smaller dishes) baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Layer 1/2 the noodles in the pan. Spread with half the cottage cheese filling; add half the mozzarella cheese and half the meat sauces. Repeat. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes (or assemble early and refrigerate; bake 45 minutes). Let stand 10 minutes for ease in serving.