Tuesday, October 21, 2014

McClain's One Year Monster Bash!

You guys. I am still thinking about all the fun we had last weekend, and currently sitting in a still rearranged dining room trying to think of excuses to keep it this way for the rest of the fall at least (or maybe the rest of my life).

An overcast day didn't stop us from celebrating our awesome tiny dude turning one last Saturday! We had a make your own monster hat station, and it was fun seeing the different wacky monsters kids--and adults! came up with. We also played pumpkin tic-tac-toe and pin the glasses on the mummy.

My mom busted out her amazing party chef skills and helped me with monster cookies complete with gummy eyes, monster brain jello salad, as well as some more adult offerings like a brussels sprout and candied pecan salad, and a sun-dried tomato and cheese dip with pumpkin crackers that was TO DIE.


Napkins by For Your Party


We did a banana cake with cream cheese icing, since McClain is such a fan of bananas, and it got rave reviews (I do not consider myself a baker at all but adding sour cream to the cake recipe, plus sticking the cake in the freezer right after taking it out of the oven made for a birthday cake I was actually happy with.)

I was super touched by all who came, including and especially my mom from Texas, dad & bro from Memphis, and friends-since-high-school-and-now-basically-sisters, Mary and Cindi, who drove a total of six hours just to come to the party, then got right back in their car as soon as the party was over. Seriously, how did I get so lucky?!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

7 Year Itch

Feeling nostalgic passing the seven years married mark this week. In some ways it feels like just yesterday we were out dancing to Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine" with all our favorite people, in other ways that day seems like a million years ago! We've moved to New York City and back, survived two apartments and a house, acquired two rescue dogs, started a business together, and made it through the first year of parenthood. I've gotten a number of producer credits under my belt on questionable reality shows, and many more babies have been born to all our friends. These two whippersnappers have no idea what they're in for!

Friday, October 10, 2014

McClain is 5 months (6 months ago...) and 10 months.

I'm horribly behind on organizing all of M's month by month photos. I was pintersnazzing earlier this week, deciding if and how I would display all these photos from the last year for his birthday, when I came to the horrible realization that I don't know where some of the months are currently located--or even if they still exist. I had a pang of guilt that I am not a good mom because I have failed at the baby month by month photos project--an important test for new moms the world over (ok maybe just in America).  I know that this is kind of irrational and not an actual problem, so I am just repeating that to myself as many times as possible. This is really kind of a great metaphor for parenthood though. As a recovering type A personality, I need frequent reminders that as much as I want to plan and have things go a certain way, I am really not in control.

Silver lining: I can really see M's personality shining through at five and ten months--seeing the pictures of him now when he was smaller and thinking "he still makes that face!" makes me feel a little less sad about all the growing he's doing...

I have had to get creative with some of the poses because he won't sit still anymore! I only got a few snaps of him on his back, and the rest of the time he was wiggling and climbing on everything. I got some cool shots out of desperation, which is another great reminder (which I need tattooed on my forehead apparently): stop being so rigid, Lindsey.

Monday, October 6, 2014

1st Birthday Preview

Kids, I'm crawling out of my skin with excitement as I put monster birthday party plans together to celebrate McClain turning one in a couple of weeks! The invitations from Frills Paper arrived this morning and I've been like a little christmas elf all afternoon, stamping and addressing away. I keep thinking about how he wasn't even IN THE WORLD this time last year, and now here he is, jabbering away and toddling around the house. It's one thing that's surprised me about being a parent: that bittersweet feeling that you don't get to hold on to any age for very long before they're growing into someone else.

Monday, September 29, 2014

McClain's Favorites: 7-9 months

7-9 months saw our guy becoming super active and if I had to choose an overall theme for these 7-9 month picks it would be "keeping him happy on the go." From making sure he had a soft spot to crawl wherever we went to snacks he could feed himself and relief for teething gums, these items definitely made our lives easier this summer as M became a mover and shaker!

1) Our Ergo Baby Carrier got a ton of use as we visited summer festivals and other happenings in town. I've noticed that in general, parents don't use carriers here in Lexington a whole lot (at least not at the venues we frequent). It's a shame because carriers don't take up a lot of space, burn extra calories as you carry your little person around, and it gives them a chance to see the world from a different point of view. Often McClain would get tired of the stroller after so long and we could move  him to the Ergo, where he would be content checking out his surroundings. This one also wins points over our other carriers because it is the most "dad friendly"--Sam refuses to try out our other carriers, which he has deemed "girly."

2) Hyland's Teething Tablets have been a godsend and I don't know why it took me so long to get on board. I had read about a few issues with teething tablets several years ago, but they have since been reformulated and there have been no issues since. I now feel a bit guilty about all the children's tylenol we did previously for teething pain because this takes care of it close to 100% of the time. We recently discovered their Cold tablets and are big fans of those as well--I even found myself taking a few and finding that yes, they work!

3) We got to swim at various aunt's and uncle's houses this summer and M really enjoyed his Intex baby float. I am a big fan of the Intex brand in general (random fun fact: our air mattress is also Intex and it has been the best one we've owned!) and we got this guy for less than $5. It's a great quality, basic float that gets the job done.

4) M got really into cheerios early and then kinda burned out on them. Sam and I both equally heart these Happy Puffs that come in six flavors (our fave is purple carrot and blueberry). We've even been known to swipe a puff for ourselves from time to time. I like that these are sweetened with a little fruit juice and there's no crap in them (i.e. sugar, GMO's, or other scary stuff). Happy Puffs for the win, y'all!

5) As M got into crawling everywhere and on everything, it was really handy keeping this double sided Picnic Blanket in the car so we could spread it out at friend or relatives houses or outside. For whatever reason as a parent it takes a while for you to be comfortable letting your little child crawl on the actual floor (there's dirt and germs down there!) and heaving something waterproof on one side was great, too!

6) As M became more mobile he wouldn't sit in any of his baby seats anymore and this Graco Jumper became one of the only places we could set him for a few minutes where he would be in the same spot a minute later! It took him a month to actually get the jumping concept, but once he did he couldn't get enough. This one has a tray and we still often do breakfast here. There are also two little toys that come with it, but we mostly attached other toys as these are not super interesting. We didn't do any exersaucer or other similar, so this was a great alternative that allowed him to move his legs in a variety of ways, and also provided good -- wait for it -- vestibular stimulation. Nerd alert! Yeah I went there. But it's important for developing baby brains and this was a good option that's also very reasonably priced.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cheesy-toast with slow roasted peppers and tomatoes

You guys, our garden is spitting out tomatoes. In mid-September. I know your garden probably gave you your tomatoes in the summer months like normal gardens do, but here we've had a rainy and cool summer, and our tomatoes are just starting to pop off by the dozen! (did I mention we have fifteen tomato plants in our back yard??)

Since it's still cool and already getting chillier by the day, warm tomatoes just sound cozier, don't they? I've been making big batches of slow roasted tomatoes--just sliced and drizzled with a little olive oil and pinch of salt, then baked at around 260 degrees for a couple of hours (I keep an eye on them and take them out when they start to get crisp around the edges). I've been keeping them in a container in the fridge and finding they go great with almost anything! Squeezed between layers of spinach lasagna, thrown on top of white chicken chili, in any and all sandwiches (ok, maybe not peanut butter and jelly, but seriously. On everything else).

They're great for M too as they're a little bit mushy and therefore not difficult for his 4.5 little teeth to mash. This was a simple combination of toast topped with sliced cheddar, tomatoes, and some yellow peppers I had laying around. As you can see, it was a big hit!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Fresh Start for Fall

So my last post was a little over three months ago. Not gonna lie the summer has been rough for our little family with a badly sprained ankle for Sam and some ongoing health woes for me. Luckily the only thing plaguing Mc has been some sore teething gummers and the very occasional evening of reflux. We have been fortunate that he has only had two colds since he has been born and no other issues to speak of so far.

It's been strange feeling bad a lot of the time, and I don't know if any of you can relate but I have spent most of my energy just existing and trying to get through the day. What a bummer! A lot of the extra things that make life so enjoyable like blogging, entertaining friends, and showing Mc fun times  around town have gone by the wayside while I have been to different doctors, specialists, and even the emergency room trying to get some answers. However, I can finally say I am on the mend and hope to be 100% better in the next month or so. It sure makes you appreciate days when you do feel better and I have a renewed sense of feeling "Carpe Diem" and not wanting to take one moment for granted.

Here are some pictures we got a couple of weeks ago--our first "formal" family photo shoot with our favorite tiny guy, who is 10 months old now!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

McClain's favorites: 4-6 months

Favorite things have evolved as M's needs and interests have changed over the last few months. (Most involving teething, tummy time/rolling, and eating). These are the MVPs that have gotten the most use!

1) Love these bucket hats from city threads. The brim is wide enough that you can fold the sides and still get a lot of coverage from the sun. We have one in navy that says "Brooklyn" and it is especially meaningful as it was the first item that Sam bought after he found out I was pregnant. Aww!

2) My most thoughtful pal Cindi let us borrow her Infantino gym and it has been used almost every day since M was 2 months old. When he was 2 months he would bat at the hanging toys, and then grab at them, and now at six months he uses the toys and sides to help roll over/practice climbing/crawling. This one is great too because the top collapses so you can pack the whole thing flat!

3) Munchkin's fresh food grinder wasn't one I thought I'd use much when we received it as a gift, but I have ended up using it quite a bit, especially for traveling. It's also great on the go, you can throw it in the diaper bag and mash up a little of whatever food you have on hand.

4) These multi-functional toys from LaMaze are a big hit at our house. We have Captain Calamari, as well as Sir Prance-a-lot and Rusty the Robot. Love the clever names and creative way this company approaches toy making.

5) I discovered these glass bottles on Amazon after reading Dr. Brown's glass bottles had a tendency to shatter when heating. We had inherited all of our bottles which was great, but they were plastic and I wanted a couple of glass options. These bottles are so awesome--the glass is made in France from borosilicate glass which when I researched this material found out that it is "resistant to extreme temperatures." The silicone sleeves are great for protecting the bottle from breakage. Also a smart idea--you can get zippy cup lids to switch out as your babe grows, so the bottle stays useful for many years! The dome cover fits with all their lids. I have to say I am truly a fan of these and may have to get a water bottle for myself soon.

6) M has a variety of toy keys around the house but what makes these Bright starts keys unique is they are also teethers! You can freeze them and the gel filled keys are great for teething relief. Double the pleasure, double the fun. The chunkier size is nice, too, and M loves jangling these.

7) The other teether that M really liked was this Sassy teething watermelon. He seemed to prefer the terry cloth texture for the longest time over silicone, and liked it wet or dry. The think I liked about wetting and/or freezing this one is it never seemed to get very drippy. The thicker watermelon rind absorbed most of the moisture so there wasn't ever too much of a mess. I just discovered they make a grape shaped one as well which we may have to get!

8) We got a lot of bibs as gifts and I have to tell you, a lot of bibs out there are somewhat useless. We have a couple (that have never been used) that are tiny scraps of fabric not fit to be an adult napkin, let alone catch food from a human learning to eat. The Skip Hop Zoo bibs are definitely my favorite so far--lightweight, fold up into a pouch, you can rinse them off even if they are covered in goo and set them out to dry, unlike some bibs that you literally have to throw in the washing machine after every use.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Coconut Chai Protein Balls

I have a love/hate relationship with this rainy, spring-shower-y weather this week. On the one hand, it's warm enough to keep a couple of windows open and listen to the blissful sound of the rain falling on the ground. Heaven! On the other, the little guy and are stuck inside --again... I decided I needed a healthy go-to snack, but something that felt decadent, and these Coconut Chai Protein Balls are just the ticket.

You can check out Cacoco here. I just happened to have the "Global Warrior" variety in my cupboard which is spiced with turmeric, cardamom, and mesquite, and was perfect for this incarnation of protein ball. You could use any chocolate you have, or skip the chocolate altogether and still have a snack that feels like a splurge.

Forcing myself to put the last four of these back in the fridge now...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

McClain is 4 months!

At 4 months McClain seems to have discovered how to make some funny faces with his tongue and is really in to playing with his hands. Also digging his wee curly cue hairdo. I think in the top pic he looks more like me as a baby, and in the bottom one he favors Sam a bit more.

Other fun stuff my little man is doing at 4 months:

--He can sit up unassisted for a few, exciting seconds

--In addition to playing with his own hands, he's obsessed with everyone else's, too!

--After a lot of tricky nights over the past couple of months, he's getting the hang of putting himself to sleep in his crib, and sleeping in up to 10 hour stretches at night! (and we are very grateful to be able to catch up on some much needed shut eye)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sam Shaves His Beard

Every other spring on the first really warm day Sam gets it in his head he wants to get rid of his beard. Then bam! Without warning he cuts it all off. He immediately regrets it. Hopefully McClain recognizes him when he wakes up...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pulled Pork with Roasted Tomato Barbecue Sauce

Greetings brave humans!

It's coming up on late March and here in Kentucky we are staring down yet another snow forecast tonight. This is the fourth snow forecast/snowstorm this month (to reiterate, this is the month of MARCH) and I am going to have a for real nervous breakdown/move to Florida if it doesn't warm up to Spring temperatures soon.

We had one warm, magical day last weekend and Sam and I took it upon ourselves to pretend like it was summer and make some slow cooked pulled pork with roasted tomato barbecue sauce. At first we were going to just buy a bottle of sauce, but M gets reflux from most bottled tomato-based sauces. Fresh tomatoes don't bother him however, so we decided to slow roast some to see if we could achieve a loophole in the whole our-baby-gets-reflux-with-all-commercial-tomato-sauces problem.

First cover 3 lbs. of Boston butt pork with brown sugar and kosher salt, about 1/3 cup of each. You can wrap your meat and let this marinade sit in the fridge overnight, but we didn't have the foresight to do this, so our meat just sat for a couple of hours, and it still turned out super tender.

Behold. A pile of meat.

Meanwhile cut up 8 medium tomatoes, cover them with a drizzle of olive oil, minced fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Roast them for about 45 minutes at 300 degrees. And don't they look pretty right out of the oven!

Next put the meat in your slow cooker and let it cook on high heat for about 4 hours, flipping it once halfway through.

Let the tomatoes cool, then blend them in the food processor til smooth.

Break up the meat with some forks, so that they are in smaller pieces. Our pork was well cooked on the outside and a bit pink through the center. We poured the tomato sauce over the top, along with a few generous shakes of garlic powder, a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and another few tablespoons of brown sugar. Give the mixture a good stir and let it cook an additional 2 hours.

Pour off about 75% of the sauce and break the pork down into little pieces. We had a little bowl of sauce on the side if people wanted to add more. We also served green cabbage, cucumber, and dill slaw (similar recipe here. The only modification I made was to add about a Tablespoon of vegenaise to the dressing to cut the vinegar flavor down a bit) to go on top of the sandwiches, and man was it the perfect combo!

This turned out to be a great alternative to using bottled sauce. We will make it again soon!

Here's the whole recipe: