Bailey is my oldest sister’s middle daughter. She is the sweetest thing, and such a little mama. She loves my boys so darn big that I can’t even stand it. Every time I have seen her (which is a heck of a lot of times. I’m talking hundreds) since Jackson was born she has wanted to pick him up and hold him and carry him around. This love and fascination with babies has carried over to Wyatt now, too. And I am happy to say that she still wants to carry Jack around too ;). These boys are so lucky to have such a sweet and loving cousin to grow up with. She is a special little mama.
Three months has gone by far too quickly! You are no longer considered a newborn, and have graduated into the infant stage, marked by your chubby cheeks, thigh rolls, and general alertness now. You continue to be very smiley and sweet, and so easy on us. I cannot even believe how easily we transitioned into a family of four, and it is all thanks to you and your pleasant demeanor.
You continue to sleep through the night (thank you!), waking only every few days in the early morning hours. Most nights you will go to bed around 8:00, and sleep until I dream feed you around 10:30. You then settle back into sleep until around 5:30-6:00 AM, which is when I need to be up feeding you and getting us all ready for me to go to work anyway, so it feels like I am sleeping full nights, which is awesome at only 3 months in!
February was a big month for you! You have become so much more scheduled, and sadly, I transitioned you into sleeping in your crib this past month, which was harder on me than on you or anyone else. You also began visiting Grandma & Grandpa (and school!) 3 days per week while Mommy + Daddy go to work. I am still considering myself so incredibly lucky to have a couple of work days at home with you and your brother each week as well.
You are so animated and interactive these days, constantly stomping on the piano at the end of your activity mat, squealing at me, daddy & Jackson (he is obsessed with you - he affectionately calls you “bro bro” and is always helping with caring for you and playing with you and constantly says that he loves you “so much!!!”), and you are so flipping close to laughing, and sometimes almost let that giggles escape. I think you will be laughing regularly within days. You are also ridiculously close to rolling over (both from back to belly + belly to back) and get angry when you cant make it happen.
You continue to be the biggest and most wonderful gift. We all love you so much baby bro bro!
365 Project | February 21st-March 2nd
- February 21, 2014: Circles
- February 22, 2014: You lookin’ at me?
- February 23, 2014: Buddies :)
- February 24, 2014: Robe
- February 25, 2014: Sit.
- February 26, 2014: 12 Weeks.
- February 27, 2014: This fist is delicious!
- February 28, 2014: Wear Them.
- March 1, 2014: Sleepy.
- March 2, 2014: Buddies + Planes.
To view the entire project from the beginning, click here.
Top Photo: Jackson 12 Weeks | Bottom Photo: Wyatt 12 Weeks
I think it is safe to say that these two are related. These two guys are looking way more alike than they were in my 6 week comparison. I showed this comparison to my baby daddy and his friend this evening and they both thought it was the same baby. Of course I can see differences between the two - Jackson was chubbier, his nose was more square, while Wyatt’s is rounded at the end, but for the most part they are the same. Same hairline, same blue eyes, same cute lips.
Their personalities are quite different already, though. Wyatt is so laid back and easy going. He doesn’t require anything more than to be fed and played with every now and then. Jackson was all attention all the time (he still kind of is). Wyatt sleeps all night and puts himself down for naps, while Jackson was up constantly, as a baby should be. Jackson didn’t like being swaddled or worn, while Wyatt seems to love the comfort that comes from being secure and close to me. Jackson has pretty much be a doer since day one and it seems that Wyatt might just be a little more reserved.
And though their personalities couldn’t be more opposite, we sure are lucky to be blessed with these cute looks twice.
At only two years old, Jackson knows how to be a mama manipulator. This morning I was getting a little frustrated because he was dragging his feet about getting ready and we were starting to run a little late. I told him to sit on the stairs so I could put his shoes on. He reached out and grabbed my neck for a hug and then this:
Jackson: I love you SO much Mommy!!!
Me: Awww, I love you too baby!
Jackson: That makes you so happy mom!
Me: It does make me very happy that you love me!
Jackson: Yes, it makes you not be angry at me anymore when I say this!
…He’s right. I mean I wasnt angry with him, but just getting (apparantly visibly) flustered about having to go back to work today (worst ever. E-V-E-R.) and missing them and trying to get both of them ready and out the door. Anyhow, he knows exactly what buttons to push haha!
This kid blows my mind again and again with his smarts. He will turn three on April 17th, and he knows every shape possible (I’m talking hexagon, rhombus, and crescent, ya’ll). I take zero credit for his knowledge of shapes - it was all an iPad app called “toddler shapes.” And some Mickey Mouse, too. I recently painted one entire wall of our basement with Chalkboard Paint for Jackson to have fun with. I took advantage of his sleepover with Grandma & Grandpa to paint the wall, and the next day surprised him and let him get to work (he requested that I write his name and draw a road, being very clear that it had to have a turn in it, of course). I asked him what he was drawing, and he said “a circle.” very matter-of-fact….AND THEN HE DID. Now, I knew that he could recognize shapes and colors and even numbers and some letters, but I was shocked when he started drawing circle after circle. The next evening we were hanging down in the basement again, and he was drawing more circles, but then switched to the number one. Now, I know it’s just a line, but still, I am so proud of my two year old kid for being able to recognize and draw a freaking line. And a circle. I’m calling it now - the kid is going to be a genius. (they actually just moved him up a grade a school a couple of months early, because he was “developmentally ready”) Seriously though, I think as long as we can cultivate his interests and keep him challenged enough, he is going to be a little smarty pants!
365 Project | February 11th-20th
- February 11, 2014: Dude
- February 12, 2014: Red Velvet
- February 13, 2014: Snow!
- February 14, 2014: Valentine <3
- February 15, 2014: XOXO
- February 16, 2014: Play Time
- February 17, 2014: Happy!
- February 18, 2014: Alert
- February 19, 2014: Sweet.
- February 20, 2014: Baby.
To view the entire project from the beginning, click here.
Slow Cooker Freezer Meals | Part Two
A month or so ago I wrote this post about a new thing I was trying to encourage more healthy and home cooked meals for my family. I am happy to report that it worked out wonderfully for us, and tomorrow, I will have my third day of freezer meal prep. The original post was quite popular, so I thought I would write another to showcase some of the new recipes I have tried (really good stuff, you guys!). I have turned this whole freezer meal thing into a social event as well, inviting my best buds to join in on the meal prep fun with me, which makes time go way faster, as well. Today I embarked on a journey to Wegmans (aka heaven on earth), and purchased all of the ingredients for our meals, knowing I will be limited on time tomorrow with an appointment in the morning. My refrigerator looks like this:
That’s a lot of meat, ya’ll! I continue to have the same tips for preparing these meals as I did in the last post:
A couple of tips I have if you plan to embark on a freezer meal journey:
- DO NOT buy store brand freezer bags. Go with Hefty or Ziploc. I made that mistake one time and had SO MANY bags burst. It was infuriating to have fully prepared meals exploding out of bags.
- Make a list. Stick to it. Also, use your recipe list to group all of the items for each meal together before you prep anything. This way, you wont use all of the pineapple for one meal when it is supposed to be used with three different meals, for example.
- Always put in your meat and loose ingredients first, then pour the sauce overtop - it just makes things easier.
- Prelabel your bags before making the meals. Seems obvious to me, but you never know ;)
And a new tip:
- Don’t store your meals laying flat in the freezer. Store them upright. if you store them flat, it will not fit quite right in the crockpot until it thaws some, and if you are planning to leave the house while the meal is cooking, it will make a small mess. If you store them upright so that the food collects in the bottom of the bag, you will be able to put a log of frozen goodness into the slow cooker that will fit every time.
- If you forget to put the food in the crockpot in the morning and realize it at 2 or 3 pm, it’s okay-just cook on high for 3-4 hours. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately ;)
Here are the 8 new recipes, along with my reviews! (I have also updated the previous post about freezer meals with reviews as well).
Black Bean Taco Soup
- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- 1 Onion Chopped
- 1 Packet of Taco Seasoning
- 1 Can of Corn (drained)
- 1 Can of Black Beans (rinsed & drained)
- 2 Cans of Stewed Tomatoes
- 1 Can of Tomato Sauce
- 1 Can of Green Chili’s (4 oz)
Cook on low for 2-4 hours This and the chili below are the only recipes that require food to be cooked. BROWN THE GROUND BEEF and onion, let it cool, and mix in with other ingredients. Ground beef shouldn’t be cooked in the crockpot, unless you want a brick of meat - ew.
Review: I loved this soup - to be honest it wasn’t really “soupy” but more of a chili. I topped with sour cream and served with tortilla chips, and it was really good.
- 1 lb Chicken Breasts
- 1 jar of pasta sauce (any kind)
- 1 Zuchinni, cut into chunks
- 1 Green Pepper, Chopped
- 1 Onion, Chopped
Cooks on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over linguine or other pasta.
Review: I was pleasantly surprised by how good this one was. I didnt cube or shred the chicken at all, but served it whole over pasta, and both my husband and I really enjoyed it.
Maple Dijon Chicken
- 1.5 lbs of Chicken Breast
- 1 cup Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper
Cooks on low for 6-8 hours
Review: I haven’t actually tried this one yet - it’s still in my freezer. It smelled really good when prepping it though!
BBQ Cranberry Chicken
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- 1/4 cup of Dried Minced Onion
- 1 can Whole Cranberry Sauce
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce
Cooks on low for 6-8 hours
Review: I liked this one enough that I am making it again, however, I will add more BBQ sauce when it is finished cooking. It was good, but needed a bit more.
Chili (makes two meals)
- 1 lb Ground Beef (browned, obvi.)
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of Ketchup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 package of Chili Seasoning
- 3 stalks of celery
- 2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp of Sugar
Cook low for 2-4 hours
Review: this one was just a regular chili to me. I like chili, and you can really use any chili recipe that you like and turn it into a freezer meal! I did think this one needed some tomato sauce.
Crock Pot Pulled Pork (makes two meals)
- 1 3lb pork roast
- 1/2 bottle of BBQ Sauce (sweet baby ray’s, obviously)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- add 1/2 cup of water before cooking
Cook on low for 6-8 hours
Review: do yourself a favor and split this into two meals! It was SO MUCH food with the 3 lb roast that this time I will split it into two bags and add 1/4 cup water before cooking instead.
Beef & Broccoli
- 1 lb beef chuck roast, sliced
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- 1 bag frozen broccoli
- 2 tbsp corn starch (added to sauce in pan on the stove after cooking meat & broccoli. Use as a thickener to create whatever consistency of sauce you like).
Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice.
Review: THIS IS MY MOST FAVORITE RECIPE IN THE WHOLE WORLD SO FAR. I used stew meat instead of chuck roast, because less cutting, and I made the sauce chinese restaurant thick with the corn starch, and it was so good. Baby daddy agreed.
White Chicken Chili (makes two meals)
- 1 lb chicken breast, cubed
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 can White Corn, drained
- 2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 packet of white chili seasoning mix (McCormick’s makes one!)
Cooks on low 6-8 hours. Top with sour cream, serve with tortilla chips, of course.
Review: Okay I lied before, THIS is my most favorite recipe in the world so far. Seriously, so good. I actually made it super bowl sunday not as a freezer meal, because my husband suggested we have some, and ended up loving it and adding to my freezer meal rotation.
For three full sets of meals (some from the previous list, and some from this list) I spent a total of $236.00, meaning that each of us will have 15 meals for about $79.00 - again, around $5.25 per meal, to feed full families of three or four. My mind is constantly blown by how much less expensive it is to actually meal plan than it is to wander around the grocery store every week. And I now want to marry my crock pot. Try it out - this has been a total game changer for us. We eat at home every night and it is, for the most part, well balanced, affordable, and GOOD.
This is a photo of my bedroom. I sleep on the far side of the bed, a bassinet tucked neatly beside me. I love having Wyatt so close by, just within arms reach throughout the entire night. Jackson was out of our room and sleeping in his crib by 6 weeks of age. It certainly made for a more exhausted mama there for awhile, but since we committed to sleep “training” him (not at six weeks, more like 5 months) he has always been, and continues to be an amazing sleeper in terms of putting himself to sleep and not fighting bedtime. I love the ease that comes with our nighttime routine with Jackson. He knows that we brush teeth, read a story, have a hug + kiss, and then he settles down for sleep while I leave the room and go about my usual business. I contribute a great deal of this success to his comfort level in terms of his crib from an early age.
Wyatt will reach 11 weeks of age on Tuesday, and I just can’t come to terms with him leaving my room. He has been napping in his crib regularly, twice a day, on a regular schedule. I noticed that he was showing signs of sleep around 10 AM daily, so I decided to swaddle him and lay him down one day, and was amazed when he silently put himself to sleep. He does the same thing between 2-3 PM daily, and every time I swaddle him, give him a paci, and he puts. himself. to sleep. I didn’t even know that was a thing at this age, but apparently he is an angel and I am blessed with the most precious baby ever in all of the universe, and he does it, and its easy, so I’m not complaining or questioning, we are going with it.
Anyhow, I go back to work a week from Monday, and know that I am going to be overly exhausted at that point, and that it probably wouldn’t be a horrible idea for all of us to get really good sleep, and that to accomplish that he should probably be in his own room, but man…
He is most likely our last baby. I love having a baby in my room next to me. Every day my rational mind thinks crazy thoughts about how “tonight will be the night. I will place him in his crib and we will all be happy and merry and lovely roses rainbows and butterflies atop purple mountains and world peace!” Then, bedtime comes and I nurse him, swaddle him, and place him right next to me in his lovely bassinet, thinking that “tomorrow is the night, there is no way we are ready for this, if he sleeps in his crib tonight the world. will. end.” It’s a classic tug-of-war over here. Who knows when he will make it to his crib.
When he does start sleeping in his crib, I will have to come to terms with the fact that I will most likely never have a tiny baby tucked in next to my bed ever again. It all comes back to the “ache.” I have said before that I would love to have 152364846 babies. I love them so much when they are little. I can’t afford 152364846 babies, and I don’t want 152364846 teenagers, so we are very likely keeping it at two (don’t get your hopes up grandpa!). I could have 152364846 babies, but still ache for “just one more.” I don’t think that ache will ever really go away. I am going to be old and wrinkly and gray, and still aching for “just one more” baby. I won’t love our two any less - they are amazing and perfect, and they are more than fulfilling, and make our family so much better. But at the same time, I don’t think that ache ever really goes away.
Tonight, at 9:00 PM I swaddled my baby, placed him in his crib and rubbed his sweet little head. It has been an hour since he put himself to sleep, and I am going about my usual business, almost ready for bed myself. I may make tonight the night, after all he is already in his crib. The crazy hormonal-new-mom-of-a-final-baby side of me suspects that I might just go in there and scoop him up only to place him neatly in his bassinet right next to me. Sometimes we just aren’t ready.
Happy Valentine’s Day from my little cherubs!