The Usticks: January 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

beef stew and big brother

 My cookbook area looks like this: an utter disaster. So when I wanted to make a beef stew in the crockpot, I was forced to make it up from scratch. I did not want to spend hours (which I don't have!) to find my old recipe. I had veggies in the fridge I needed to use up and potatoes in the pantry I needed to finish, too. It was SO simple. Brent said it was the best stew I had made. I'll take that! So here's what I did.

1-1.5 pounds of stew beef
1 packet of Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix
a few potatoes (with skins left on)
a large handful of baby carrots (chopped up)
a few stalks of celery (chopped up)
some onion (i had half an onion left over)
a green pepper (chopped up)
1 can of beef stock
1 bay leaf

I put the stew beef on the bottom on the crock pot. Then layer the veggies and potatoes on top. I don't measure or anything. I just fill the pot up. Pour the packet of soup mix on top. Add the can of beef stock over that. Set crockpot on high for a few hours, or on low for all day. I added in a tablespoon of flour later on to thicken the soup up. Once it was done, I served it up with a loaf of white bread from our bread maker.

This was SO easy. And best of all I did it WITHOUT a recipe (I love that!) There was no work being done in the kitchen at dinner time which is key with Riley =) She doesn't so much enjoy me being in the kitchen working at that hour!

I now feel like "Big Brother" with our fancy shmancy video baby monitor. I'm happy I used my birthday money for this... the entertainment value is priceless! Watching Avery in her crib at naptime.. WOW. I wish I had this sooner!
Riley sleeping

Avery doin her thing during "naptime"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

one happy customer

What are purple carrots? I don't know. Riley sure likes them.. mixed with blueberries and pears! Looks like the color of beets.. I NEVER would've fed this to Avery.. with her spitting up, it would've be awful to clean it up!

I've posted about how much I like the Plum Baby Organic food. I wish they made more varieties.. especially vegetable ones. If I see these on sale, I try and snag a few! I first heard about them from my sister and saw them on Amazon before seeing them in the store.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

food and car seats

 It's been so fun to feed Riley lately. I like having a baby who seems to enjoy the process of eating baby food! So far she's liked every fruit and vegetable I've given to her. She wasn't into the mixed vegetables at first, but I added in a little applesauce to get her used to the taste, and by the end she was gobbling the veggies up sans applesauce.
This girl has the best smiles. She can be in a super fussy mood, yet will still crack a huge smile. Here she was super happy. Perhaps it was the fact she took a nap that was an hour and a half this morning!! Go Riley! That's triple the length of her normal naps! Granted she's been awake a much longer time since the nap too.. but I'll take it! She was so much happier today because of that nap. The past two nights she's only woken up once.. around 3am to eat.. and then gone back to sleep until 630 or so. C.R.A.Z.Y. I hope I didn't just jinx that.

Avery finally ended her napping hiatus today. She hadn't fallen asleep for a nap since Saturday! I actually missed listening in on her today on the monitor to hear what she was talking about and what songs she was singing. Ok, I digress... SOLIDS.. Doesn't Riley look so grown up in this picture at her booster seat? Brent nearly has a heart attack every time he thinks about the girlies growing up. So, if you're reading this, don't listen to what I just said about Riley =)

I put a few of those Gerber puffs on Riley's tray yesterday. She grabbed them and pulled them to her mouth, but they didn't go inside. She just tucked them away in her hands and let them get all sticky. It's fun to watch them explore new things.

I'm nearing the point of wanting to switch Riley out of her infant car seat to the cow print upright one we have. She is SO HEAVY in that infant seat! I can barely lift her up into the car without throwing my back out. The only plus side to keeping her in it is that it's a convenient place for her to be when we go out places. I set her in the front portion of a shopping cart yesterday and she cried. Not snuggly enough I suppose! We switched Avery out of her infant seat at Christmas. Have I said how I love being able to compare what I did and when with the girls by the calendar dates? Since they were born 2 days shy of 2 years apart it's SO easy to think back and not have to do the math in my head as to what age avery was and then calculate that for riley. Did that make sense? It did to me. Maybe only me! Riley's feet are past the edge of the car seat, so that might be reason enough. OH and the MAIN MAIN MAIN reason I've kept her in it is that she is still able to fall asleep in it!!! I would be up a creek without a paddle if she didn't do that. Avery stopped napping very shortly after we switched her out of her infant seat, so I think I'm paranoid that if we switch Riley she will stop napping in the car, too. Wow. This was a super rambly post. At least there were a few cute pictures to look at.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

almost forgot!

As I was re-reading the last post about Avery I realized I forgot to write about something HUGE! Avery's been potty trained since November! We still put her in a diaper for naps and nighttime, but during the day she's PT! I started very gradually with her over the summer just letting her go potty whenever she'd mention it. By November she was asking to go A LOT. So I decided to ditch the diaper one day and we haven't looked back. She caught on SO quick. What a huge blessing. Potty training with a newborn around is quite the task =)

avery at two and a half

I haven't updated about Avery in ages. Just thought I'd jot a few things down for posterity.

Having a two year old is SO MUCH FUN. Obviously this age has challeneges, but I love being able to carry on conversations with her and enjoy her own little sense of humor. She's my little buddy and I love it.

Just the other day she started using the word "situated".. and using it correctly. She's been learning songs over the past few months. Her favorite time to practice singing songs is in her crib while she winds down for nap time. She knows the entire "Frosty the Snowman" song. And she started to recognize a few Christmas songs like "O Holy Night." She knows "Jesus Loves Me" and parts of the "B-I-B-L-E". And she knows lots of song portions from her Car Songs CD we play in the car.

She just started the other week putting more complex questions together. How'd that happen! She started putting sentences together probably during the summer sometime. It's SO fun to talk with her. She has quite the imagination.

We got her a "mag doodle" for christmas and she has started to draw fish with eyes and mouths. She says whether they are a happy or sad fish by the way the mouth looks on the drawing. She's also starting to learn how to write a few letters.

She absolutely loves playing football with daddy in the evenings around the kitchen and living room. She would live outside if we let her. Too bad it's been so cold this winter.. and I'm chicken to be out in the cold while carrying around a heavy baby! Come on, Spring! I can't wait to play outside with Avery this Spring. I hope Riley loves being outside as much as Avery does.

Hmm.. I can't think of what else to write down.. A few of her favorite foods lately are oatmeal, spaghetti, applesauce, yogurt, and of course cookies.

I fear typing this out because of jinxing it, but Avery still sleeps AWESOME. She sleeps all night and 95% of the time takes a nap during the afternoon ranging from 1-2.5 hours. It depends on how long she decides to chat in her crib before falling asleep =)

give this girl some ribbons and she has hours of entertainment

now mommy has a huge mess to clean up!
so much fun!

another month has passed us by - 7 month update

Riley is 7 months old as of January 15th. We were away visiting friends from college over the weekend, so I'm just now getting around to her update post. Here's what Riley's been up to the past month:
  • you're starting to make "b" and "g" sounds
  • you came VERY close to rolling over last night! -- still waiting on that one.. 
  • you still LOVE your sis.. you LOVE laughing with her.. you LOVE taking tubbies together at night.. you LOVE watching her play.. and you LOVE getting attention from her
  • you're eating two meals a day.. and loving it more and more
  • still no teeth!
  • you average 1-2 hours of nap time TOTAL a day (spread over 2-4 naps)
  • you're in your crib for 11ish hours a night.. waking up A LOT. I try to only feed you once, though! Hey.. maybe if you'd roll over, you'd enjoy sleeping on your tummy?? =)
  • bedtime is still 7pm.. mommy loves that since you (and her) are usually so exhausted by evening!
  • you still take naps in the car (yay!).. your sis last napped in the car at 7 months
  • you're in size 4 diapers and 6-12 mo clothes
  • you still love rubbing your feet together when agitated - i'm surprised you haven't rubbed holes in your footy pjs
  • favorite toys .. things that aren't toys =)

 <--- A look back at month 6

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

i see you

I think this photo is so funny. Riley was confused by the sunglasses and was trying to grab some mysterious object in the air. She looks good in them, no? Hehe.

Well Riley did not give me the gift of sleep for my birthday. I was hoping she'd decide to sleep through the night for the first time last night.. uhhh, right! Just kidding. I did NOT think that! If she HAD done that, I would've been super grateful. For now, I'll keep waiting and hoping.

I told Avery that it was my birthday today. It only took about 5 times of telling her it was MY birthday and not HERS for her to get it. And then she proceeded to tell me to sing Happy Birthday to myself =) Crazy girl.

Tonight we're all going out to Qdoba for a little birthday dinner. I'm so excited. I LOVE that place. I think it's Avery's most favorite place to go eat, too. She actually eats.. and sits in her chair for the whole meal.

Monday, January 10, 2011

new years resolution?

So I was thinking about New Years Resolutions.. I have NEVER been one to make a NYR, let alone make one and actually KEEP it. I know it's already January 10th, but I began to think about my poor blog and how it's the only place I ever record things that happen around here! So I thought it would be great to make a resolution to update this WAY more frequently. Time is going so fast.. Riley is almost 7 months old and I can hardly remember anything specific about what happened in the past for EITHER girl! Avery's babyhood is a complete and total blur in my mind. I remember things one way.. and it's 99% of the time wrong. Ha ha! SOoooo if I write things down on my blog, it will never be forgotten! I like that. So here's to my first new year's resolution ever..

Riley's been enjoying her food lately. She's tried mangos, bananas, apples, pears, peas, and sweet potatoes. I'd have to say bananas have been her favorite so far. I love the Plum Baby Organic foods. They come in cool pouches with a twist top. Easy to use a little or a lot and store the rest in the fridge for later. I always end up wasting so much of the foods when they come in the plastic containers.. I don't know why, but I either forget about them or somehow contaminate them with the spoon and then they get forgotten in the fridge because Riley is no where near eating enough to finish one in a single sitting.

I think Riley is starting to get mad when we sit down at the table to eat. She starts fussing and wants to be held up at the table during dinner. I try to feed her while we eat, too. She's seems to enjoy that. Oh, and she loves it when I feed her a little food when Avery is having breakfast in her highchair. I scoot them right next to each other and Avery will chat to Riley and Riley just smiles at her in between bites. I think they really like each other =) I always wondered when Riley was an infant if Avery would ever ask when Riley was going back home. I can't imagine how weird it must be for a little kid to all of a sudden have a new person in their house soaking up SO much mommy and daddy attention! Or maybe it's no biggie at all to kids.. Either way, Avery still hasn't asked when Riley is going home, so I think Riley's here to stay =)

A few new things to note: last Friday Riley took TWO one-hour naps in her crib! And another one Saturday morning, too. Since then, 30 min naps at best! At least it's nice to know she CAN do it. Whether she will or not is another question. Nights are getting a little better too. She'll frequently sleep from 7 until 3/330. Eat and then sleep for another few hours. At this point with Avery we were putting her to bed around 830 i think. I can deal with 7pm as a bedtime! Riley really doesn't give us a choice. She is SO ready for her bath by 630 each night.. and with the little nappage she has during the day she is longing to go to bed for the night by then. Ever since she was a wee little baby, come evening time, she would settle into a deep sleep.. as in she would sleep past her typical 30 minutes.. I used to wake her if it was time to eat, and she'd never settle back into that deep, night sleep. I quickly learned to just LET her sleep if she got into her "night sleep" and that's where her early bedtimes started. As she napped less and less, bedtime became earlier and earlier!

Ok, so I'll just say that this might be dreadfully boring to most of you reading this (if anyone is =) But these are the things I try and remember down the road and just simply cannot.. so I like writing it all down! I regretfully never did that with Avery. So I usually ask Brent if he remembers what we did! Because we all know what "mom brain" is... and I have it.. bad.

Avery's so excited about my resolution she's jumping up and down!

Hip hip.. hooray!

Friday, January 07, 2011

.. love these two .. these two..

Avery had Riley in stiches this morning... can you tell?