Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lovin' from the Oven

I'm not sure if it is the hint of fall in the air or being completely bored of my usual recipes, but I am on the hunt for some new scrum-d-lumptious dinners! Last week I tried three new recipes. The first two were complete flops. (Such a bummer when this happens). But, the last one turned out good enough to commit to a recipe card. I thought I would share:

  • 4 chicken breasts (I cubed mine)
  • 1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning
  • 1 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
Cook on low for 4 hours in the crockpot. If sauce is too thick, add a little milk. Serve over pasta.
 I stole this picture from the internet because Declan was being a little difficult right around the time we were serving dinner. Didn't even think about busting out the camera. :)

And, because I love dessert, I had to try this easy peasy recipe that only calls for 2 ingredients:
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix the two ingredients. Pour batter into a greased 7 x 11 inch baking dish. Bake for about 28 minutes.

The recipe suggested this as the topping:
Apple Cider Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 T. apple cider
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice

In a small bowl blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour over Pumpkin Cake letting it drizzle down the sides of the cake. Let set before covering.  

I am more of a frosting girl myself, so I topped it with cream cheese frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
This is the dangerous kind of dessert - you find yourself stopping by for a quick bite and before you know it, it's almost gone!

Both recipes were *pinspirations*!
Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Highlights

We had a wonderful week, full of happy moments and fun adventures! Below are a few highlights:

Fort building became a big deal in our house this week! 
It seems like all of our down time now includes forts.
Declan always insists that Lexi hang in the fort with him. He says "Right her (here) mom, right her" as he points to the pillows.
We went to the beach with Gracie and Alex. I think this was our last beach day. The pictures below look cold because it was cold! We still had fun though! I pulled Declan around on a boggy board for the the first time. His facial expression was both happy and terrified all at the same time. It was cute. :) Maybe next summer we'll be more aggressive with this.
Arts and crafts at the Botanical Gardens is always fun!
Lexi met a friend at open gym. Cute little baldies!
We saw the Lion King (3D style) with the cousins. Although she isn't pictured, Lexi came too. I think she enjoyed the show more than Declan!
Emma, Zack, Declan, and Lily
We went to the park to feed the ducks...our brand new shoes are now completely muddy!
We spent an awesome day at SeaWorld with Daddy!
Daddy and Lexi with the Beluga Whale
At Turtle Reef

We rode the sky ride for the first time to see Shamu from a different view. It was a big success!
We stopped by to say hi to Shamu at eye level -

We fed the seals
But, the best part of the day was the very end. We took Declan to the rides. Usually he isn't a big fan of rides, but we seem to have overcome that stage. He loved the rides!
We went to the Zoo with Kady, Samantha, Fiona, and John. It was a great day!
We looked at some monkeys -
And saw the baby Hippo sleeping and smashed up against the glass. How cute is that??
We said hello to the Pandas
Lexi hung out with the big girls -
We ended our day at the Polar Bear exhibit.
Unfortunately it was a long walk to our car because our little two year old decided to throw one of those lovely tantrums. :( Let's just say I was more than ready for a girls night out - lucky I had one planned!

I can't stop looking at Lexi while she sleeps! We recently received a musical bear to hang in her crib from a family friend. Lexi has taken a strong liking to it. 90% of the time when I check on her she is curled up next to it!

And, last but not least - we started decorating for Halloween. I know, a tad early, but we are more than ready for the season! If we can't have the beach, give us the pumpkin patches!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Strikingly Similar

From day one it was more than a little apparent that Declan and Lexi look a lot alike.
When a random stranger commented on how much they look alike today, I decided it would be fun to do a five month comparison:
How adorable are these sweet sibs!? They almost could be twins (boy/girl twins of course)! Lexi is covering her lower lip, but they definitely have the same lips (a lucky break from their daddy). They also both have their daddy's awesome eyebrows! And, the same cute nose - not sure whose it is? I think it is funny that their hair is even coming in at the same pace! A couple of other tidbit similarity facts:
  • Since about one month of age they are always within about 3 ounces of each other at their check-ups.
  • Declan rolled for the first time on July 13th, Lexi for the first time on July 12th!
  • Personality wise they both have a feisty side (although different circumstances bring it out), and they are both very physical, active babies.
Everything else about them couldn't be more different. I constantly find myself musing at how differently Lexi plays with a certain toy, interacts with people, laughs, and cries. It is so fun to watch these different personalities emerge. And, how with each passing day the love between them grows stronger. It truly is magical to watch.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Highlights

Below are a few highlights from the recent past that made me happy!

Oh my cuteness - Mimi has been crocheting Lexi some pretty darn cute hats for fall. One day last week the bloomers that I ordered arrived in the mail and I absolutely had to put them on with her new bear hat! Cuteness from hat to tush!
It's September and we are still going to the beach!
Declan's first tram ride at the Wild Animal Park. He loved it!! I think Lex enjoyed it too :)
A fantastic visit from Mimi. It couldn't have come at a better time. It was nice to have the extra help during Declan's ear infection conundrum. 
It has been on my list for awhile now to take Declan to the Solana Beach Design District to stand on the bridge and watch the train drive under us. We had a great time watching the train...
...But a 21/2 year old does not have the patience to wait out the train schedule. So we walked to Fletcher Cove park and had a great time with Mimi and Pops. Notice how he is jumping off the slide - the kid never stops jumping!

Speaking of Mimi and Pops, we enjoyed a lot of pool time at their hotel last weekend!
 I took Declan and Lexi to Barnes and Noble one foggy morning for story time. Declan wasn't very interested in story time, being that a train table was within eye distance. So we switched up our plans and spent most of the morning at the train table. :) But, what made me happy was when I saw Declan voluntarily share a train! What??! Usually he is coveting them and saying "mine". I relished in the fleeting moment.
I had plenty of time to kill at Barnes and Noble. In my meandering,  I stumbled upon a book called Tallulah's Tutu. I had to buy it - Adam's nickname for Lexi is Tallulah! What are the chances?

The winter shoes (size 8) I bought for Declan arrived in the mail. I opened them up and put them on Declan's feet to make sure that they fit. I've never seen the kid have such an affinity for a pair of shoes. He walked around all morning in his new shoes and pajamas! When I tried to put his old shoes on (in an effort to keep the new ones new) before we left for the day, he insisted on his new ones! Guess he likes his new shoes!
Lexi started sitting at the dinner table with us. It blows my mind that it's almost time to introduce her to solid foods! small tear Lame pic, but gets the point across. :)
We took advantage of the fact that during the month of September you can use your New Children's Museum pass at Scripp's Aquarium!
I enjoyed an early birthday dinner with Adam at 333 while Mimi watched the kiddos. She took them to the pier so they were close by in case Lexi needed to nurse. The peace of mind that Lexi was nearby and wouldn't freak out was half the enjoyment of dinner for me!
Last, but certainly not least - I found out today that my 84 year old grandmother is buying her first computer. She rocks!!
It has been a great couple of weeks!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Five Months

It's hard to believe that five months have gone by.
It seems like just yesterday we were listening to your sweet newborn cry.

Your gentle personality grabbed me from the start;
It's the small things you do that melt my heart.

Like your tiny sigh when you fall into a deep sleep.
Laying on your tummy and sucking your thumb, you barely make a peep.

Or the way you get our attention with a fake cough.
I gladly drop what I am doing to give you some love, an easy trade-off!

So many changes this month that move you from infant to baby.
I'm even seeing signs you're close to sitting...just maybe!

We recently took down your swing and moved you to your crib.
This momma is having a hard time with you getting so big!

Your little giggle has turned into a belly laugh,
Especially while watching your brother splash around in the bath.

You love to jump in your jumeroo, blow bubbles, and roll around like crazy,
Really, any physical activity - you certainly aren't lazy!

I love your easy smile and go-with-the-flow attitude.
It is rare to see you in anything but a good mood.

It seems like overnight we started to see chunky thighs.
In addition your hair is growing and I'm starting to see brown in your eyes!

My greatest indulgence is holding you while you soundly sleep,
Your innocent beauty makes my emotions run deep.

My sweet Lexi, everyday I thank God for the gift of you.
For your happiness there isn't anything I wouldn't do.

I'm sure that month six will be a ball!
I can't wait to see what you will show us this fall!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Days with Declan - Videos

Despite the recent challenges I wrote about in the previous post, our days with Declan are still fun and full of adventure. Below are a few videos that I have been wanting to post.

To say that this kid likes to jump is an understatement! He jumps off of everything. Below is a video of him jumping into the pool. This is my favorite jump of his. I love catching him and watching the pure joy on his little face as he flails himself into the water. He absolutely cracks me up!
I love how he skips "one, two" during the second jump and goes straight to "THREEEEE"!

One of my favorite changes in Declan this summer is that he started counting! On the morning of August 21st he was playing with his trains and started counting them! From one to ten, clear as day. It was so unexpected and cool. Since then, I've heard him attempt to count to twenty (a couple of times). Below is a video illustrating this new trick of his. My cute counter!

Daddy is so good at making up games to play with Declan! Here is their current fav. I just love how he pronounces "Ready!"

Declan, my little bundle of endless energy! You always put a smile on my face with your learning and growing. I've never met anyone as high on life as you are Sweet Baby!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sleepless in San Diego

A couple of weeks ago Declan stopped napping. Just stopped, out of the blue. The first day I thought it was a fluke. The next day I thought maybe I didn't tire him out enough. By the third day I was pulling out my hair. This ordeal went on for two weeks. I have never been so exhausted in my life. I'm talking worn out. Because on these long, napless days it wasn't like he was a sweet little peach. We had plenty of episodes where Mr. Crazy came out to play. And, disciplining is my least favorite part of parenthood. Especially when it doesn't work. It was two weeks of time out after time out, toys taken away, and still the screaming tantrums. By the time Mimi arrived last week I was at a complete loss. Was this it? Were my days of napping over? Even Mimi was baffled by the whole situation. Until last Sunday when Mimi saw him pull at his ear. Adam immediately took him to Urgent Care. This sounds weird, but all three of us were hoping he was sick - just for an answer to the inexplicable craziness that was happening in our lives. From day one of this napless stretch I discounted even the slightest possibility that he was sick because he didn't show any signs. Not one. No tugging of the ears, no cough, no congestion - nothing. So when Adam came back from the doctor saying that he had an ear infection, a flood of guilt fell over me. And, to be honest a rush of relief too. At least we had an answer. After only half a day of antibiotics, he started napping again.  I was so freaked out by the whole situation that the next day I took Lexi to the doctor to make sure her runny nose wasn't a sign of an ear infection too. Of course it wasn't. Two hours and $40 down the drain. Oh well, better safe than sorry! It really is a bummer that babies aren't born holding an instruction manual. It would save so much time and heartache!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Apple(s) of my Eye

Yesterday did our first Fall activity - apple picking!  The Cejas met us at our house bright and early in the morning to caravan to Raven Hill Orchard in Julian. What a perfect day it was to pick apples. A few sprinkles when we first arrived added a little adventure to our morning, but more importantly kept the activity cool. The kids were crazy...happy...excited from the minute we got there!

Non-stop running

Gracie looking adorable in her apple picking outfit!

This little guy - in typical Declan fashion did more eating than picking!

 I have to give him some credit though - he did pick a few apples...
 Lexi had a big day too! Usually we have pictures of Lexi sleeping, in her chair, or in her carrier...

But, today she was in her very first picture with the big kids - and she rocked it! 
She was so good, we went for another one!
 Look how cute she is! Thanks to Gracie who took on the big responsibility of holding her!
I had to add this picture too - Lexi is chewing on everything these days!
 And a few family shots...

All of the apple picking made us hungry, so we stopped at the Pizza Barn on the way out of town - yum!

What a great day and a wonderful way to kick off Fall! So many smiling faces!
Of course as soon as we got home I made some apple crisp with our loot! The house smelled fabulous!
It doesn't look like much, but it tastes scrumptious!

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