Monday, March 31, 2014

before and after

black beans struck again.
this girl cannot help herself.
here she is before dinner:

and when she realized she was having beans:
and after...

someone buy me some stock in black beans.
we're gonna make a killing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

taco lasagna

shannon made this for everyone when marge was in town.
ronnie and i both loved it.
so i annoyingly stalked her for about a week
for the recipe.
i'm making it and thought i should share.
taco lasagna:
1 lb ground beef round
1/2 C chopped green pepper
1/2 C chopped onion
2/3 C water
1 packet taco seasoning    
1 (16 oz) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes ( not drained)
6 large flour tortillas (8 inch)
1 (16 oz) can refried beans       
3-4  C mexican blend cheese
sour cream 
brown the beef, green peppers and onions over medium heat. 
add water and taco seasoning and bring to a boil. 
reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
 stir in tomatoes and black beans. simmer for 10 mins.

use a greased 9 x 13 pan. put 2 tortillas on
the bottom overlapping as necessary. 
spread with half of the refried beans,
then half of the meat mixture and a cup of cheese. 
repeat layers starting with tortilla shells. 
 top with remaining tortilla shells and cheese. 
cover with foil and bake for 30 mins at 350 or until cheese is melted .  
serve with salsa and sour cream.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

cribs - not the mtv kind

brette is napping
out of the swing and into her crib.
don't get me wrong,
i owe that swing BIG time.
it finally got brette to nap off of me and
for a couple hours at a time.
we love that swing.
but brette is getting bigger and
it made me nervous to have her in there
because one: she's not strapped in.
and two: she's started sleeping on her side.
isn't that cute?
but not exactly optimal [or safe] for the swing.
(monitor shot - b in her crib on her side)

another reason we made the transition from swing to crib
is my back.
remember my dear ol' pregnancy back problems?
well, its never really gone away.
i think my back will be forever jacked after having a kid.
its never been that big of deal until i started
bouncing and swaying brette to sleep.
at first i would only do it for a minute or two,
then lay her in her swing and she was out.
but two minutes turned to twenty minutes.
everyday, twice a day i was basically doing squats with
a 20lb weight and moving side to side [to mimic the swing]
and i was in pain.
i was telling marge and shannon about it
when marge was down for her visit and
they both thought i was crazy.
why in the world was i doing all that?
and when i thought about it...
they were right.
if this is how i'm parenting her to fall asleep
then i'm either going to have to change it
or be prepared to rock her to sleep for years.
i knew there was no way my back could take that.
i thought maybe i could rock her in a rocking chair,
but brette would lose it if i sat down.
picky. picky.
and funny enough, marge and shan use the same
method when getting their kids to take naps:
you lay them in bed and don't bother them for an hour.
my initial thought:
have you met brette?  this is never going to work.
she will scream her head off.
my second thought:
i don't believe in letting my kid cry it out.
what about her trusting me?
what about her learning that i will respond to her needs?
so i did the ol' go check on her in 5 minutes,
then 7 minutes,
then 13 minutes,
then 30 minutes.
and this didn't work for brette and i.
she lost her mind when i came in the room.
for real.  she totally got worse.
so i thought, well maybe me going in there IS making it worse.
so i went back to marge and shannon's suggestion.
they insisted that this would work
but it was going to take around 5 days
for brette to get used to it.
i started it last monday.
the first couple days were a 50/50 shot on whether or not
b would fall asleep or cry for an hour.
and i hated it.
especially those times when she never did fall asleep.
she was tired, her hair was wet from tears, her face was red and she couldn't catch her breath.
it's a sorry, pathetic sight
and you feel like a selfish mom.  
on day three and four she actually didn't nap at all.
she just cried the whole time.
that was horrible and
i was officially hating this method.
but just like marge and shan said,
day five she was better.
she slept one nap and cried the other.
and from then on out she falls asleep both nap times
and is asleep within 10-15 minutes.
and now, its not crying, just her yelling.
a few times she hasn't cried at all,
just played around in her crib until she fell asleep.
that was awesome.
i'm still in a bit of shock that all i do now is lay my
kiddo in a crib and leave,
but seriously, its the best thing ever.
two disclosures:
one - we don't do this at bedtime because A) she was already sleeping in her crib at night. B) we give brette a bottle in a rocking chair and she falls asleep before the bottle is gone, so i was never bouncing her to sleep.
two - i, personally, would not use this method on a baby younger than 9 months old. i think in those early months you are building trust and you have to be flexible to what the baby needs. i think crying it out is not good for a baby that young.  just my opinion.  hell, i had a hard enough time doing it with brette at this age. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


this post is sponsored by target.
no, not really.
but it should be.

i don't go shopping very often.
there's really no point.
i don't need new clothes for staying at home
and brette doesn't need a lot because
of all the clothes she gets from madeline.
groceries can be found cheaper at wal-mart and
since i'm not working,
i try my hardest to save money where i can.
i have been actively avoiding target.
there are too many cute things
and it makes it hard not to load up the cart.
but i went last week in search of an easter dress...
and something took over me.
too soon i was spending way more than i planned.
oh geez.
i called ronnie from the parking lot
to let him know.
he asked for the credit card back.
but look at all our cute new things.
a new swimsuit cover-up for me.
i mean, i AM going to mexico.
new sandals for me too.
can i use mexico as an excuse again?
new jammies for b.
her easter dress 
her new summer look.
another swimsuit.
i also bought her a hat,
2 books
and lots of stuff for her easter basket.
i'm obviously ready for summer. 
and that's why i can't go to target.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


extra! extra!
a quick update on baby b.
she had her 9 month check-up at the pediatrician.
brette weighs 19lbs 7ozs. (75th%)
27.5 inches in length (50th%) and
17 3/4 cm around the ol' noggin. (80th%)
holy bobble-head.
we compared it to my baby stats at one year old.
she and i are the exact same size except she is 3 inches shorter...
and 3 months YOUNGER.
cheese and rice.
that is one big baby.
the doc also found that
she has another ear infection.
poor baby.
that explains the horrible night i had on monday trying to get her to sleep.
now i feel bad because i should have given her tylenol
because i'm sure her ear hurt and i was all like "go the F to sleep." 
she's on another round of antibiotics and is doing much better already.
her next doctor appointment isn't until she's a year old.
i can't believe we're that close to having a one year old.
especially since i haven't aged a day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


my dear margie came into town over her spring break
and hauled her two boys from st. louis to see shan and i.
[college roomies for life!]
once i got over to shan's it was decided
that we should have a big sleepover to maximize
the short amount of time we had together.
we spent all day together playing with kids
and catching up with each other.
dana joined us and brought her two little ones to our play group.
it was such a fun day.
that night shan made an awesome dinner
(i'm going to get her recipe and share)
and ronnie came over to hang for awhile too.
once the kiddos were all in bed in various pack-n-plays
and the husbands had gone off to bed too,
the three of us relived our college days. (kind of)
we split a six pack of beer and laughed
over our hilarious version of hashtag comedy,
facebook gossip and our desire for roseanne on tv.
   unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse around 10:45.
marge's two boys and brette all woke up.
what the heck.
i tried forever and could not get her back down.
finally, after midnight i packed it in and headed home.
wah wah wah.
and even once i got her home she cried for another 40 minutes before
finally passing out around 1:30.
poor girl.
but as soon as she woke up the next morning,
i was packed and ready and we headed back over to shan's.
i love having my friends on spring break.
it was just like old times.
sometimes i really do miss living with my bestest friends.
oh sure, ronnie can be cool,
but can you really compete with this?
 a look back...



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

green street

we took brette to her first parade over the weekend.
it was also my mom's birthday so 
they came up to spend the day with their favorites.
no, not me.
the grandgirls.

and this was the first year ronnie and i didn't stick around
for the pub crawl afterwards.  
i actually didn't even drink a green beer.
i guess we're celebrating the irish holiday a new way now:
stickers instead of pitchers.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

they're always after me lucky charms

happy st. patty's day eve!
this is your reminder to wear
if you forget, you get pinched all day. 
and that sucks.
or you can tell everyone that you
have green on your underwear.
but then people are stuck deciding whether or not
they want to call your bluff and see your underwear.
and you're all like - what the hell. don't you think i look good?!
things can go wrong.
so really,
take my advice and wear green.
its easier on everyone.

or you can do what we did and
make green lucky charm treats.
if you always have one in your mouth,
then you'll always have green on.
that's my brilliant plan.
green lucky charm treat recipe:
4 cups marshmallows
1/2 stick of butter
6 cups lucky charms cereal
green food coloring
melt butter and marshmallows in a pan.
stir until melted and add a couple drops of green food coloring.
remove from heat and stir in cereal.
pour into a 9x13 pan.
press and flatten out with your (buttered) hands.
let cool and cut into squares.
eat all day to avoid bruising.
jaime and i made these with the girls.
totally kid-friendly.
i wish i had pictures but
our hands were full.

Friday, March 14, 2014

friday night, bright lights

what do i do on a friday night?
i went shopping.
grabbed a sandwhich with ronaldo and b.
had a dance party in the living room to kill time before bed.
then ronnie and i took turns complaining about back pain.
played a few games of candy crush.
discussed watching a movie.
and now i'm laying in bed.
i'm a baller.
in other news,
i have some sweet pics of brette.
and happy friday.
hope yours is as cool as mine.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

brette: nine months

ronnie weighed her the other day
and our scale said 19lbs.
not sure on her length,
we're really lacking on keeping up with her measurements.
her doctor's appointment is next week
so we'll have a full update then.
she's still sporting size 3 diapers and
is in 6-9 month clothing.
i was certain she was going to pop another
tooth through this month,
but so far nothing.
still just the two bottom teeth is all she has.
she did develop a lot more strength in her legs
and we practice standing all the time.
she took a step towards the table,
which was the first time she has been able to
move and keep standing.
no breakthroughs on crawling
which comes as no surprise.
as of yesterday,
she has also started clapping!
we went to story time at the library
and we were doing a sing-along and she clapped.
she's done it several times since,
and i even caught her mid-clap during our photo session this morning!
so cute.

sleep is going just like always with two minor changes.
she sleeps through the night like a champ.
(around 10 hours, then nurses and is back to sleep for another two)
ronnie is now the one who puts her to bed
and she was having trouble falling to sleep.
we found that she really just wanted someone with her.
i would stand over her crib with my hand on her shoulder
and she would relax.
but if i left, she would start crying again.
it was starting to hurt my back to hunch over her every night.
one night, i sat by her crib and she rested her head next to mine.
i crawled out of the room once she was asleep.
i knew in that moment that i had to find an easier way.
so i finally, after a week or two,
i figured a way to trick her into thinking i was there.
i lay a pillow next to her so she thinks someone is with her.
she cuddles up next to it and she drifts right off.
i'm literally in her room less than a minute.
the next change is we stopped swaddling her.
i know i tried to do this when she was five months old,
but it didn't work for us at the time.
she kept waking herself up with her hands in her face.
but recently she started crying as soon as i picked up the swaddle
so i took it as a sign that she was o.v.e.r. it.
she's been swaddle-free for 4 weeks.
instead, she gets a breathable blanket and
has her arms and legs everywhere,
but sleeps peacefully.
brette, for the most part,
eats what we eat.
including meat, which was a first for us.
she's has chicken, turkey, pork chops, tilapia and even some hamburger.
she does a really good job of chewing everything
and we haven't has any choking issues.
her main foods are fruits and veggies
and now that she's 9 months,
i will start giving her berries too.
the only things she still can't have
are eggs and honey... or anything hard.
as long as its cooked, mushy and cut into small pieces,
she is good to go.
i am still nursing her three times a day
and takes a bottle twice a day.
6:45 - nurse
10:15 - bottle
1:30 - nurse
4:45 - nurse
8:15 - bottle
asleep by 8:30.
i am getting ready to add another bottle next week,
but so far, weaning brette has been real slow and smooth.

i think brette likes to sing.
if we're in the car or at church and everyone is singing,
she will totally "yell" along.
thank god she's cute because it can get rather loud.
i have also heard her use the "m" sound several times.
not necessarily "mama" but whatever,
it's progress.
we've been working hard on the sign for drink
(which is different in my family - -
its like a kissing noise - -
supposed to be like sucking a straw - - coined by madeline.)
i think she did it the other night, but
i haven't seen her do it again, so who knows.
we're also working on "all done" and "more"
but she hasn't really picked up on sign language yet.

we do a lot of standing and playing.
my aunt bought her a piano that she can lean on
and we still put toys on the couch so she can stand and play there.
i'm trying to get her playtime to be leg strengthening as well.
we've also started going to a baby story time every tuesday at the library,
so that gives us an opportunity to check out some new books every week.
she is still loving her exersaucer and jumper
and has mastered turning on some of her own toys.
i'm really excited to take her to the park this spring and
really start getting some outdoor playtime.

she ate meat.
she can clap her hands.
she had her first month swaddle-free

i can't believe i have a nine month old.
my chunky monkey little, maybe big, nine month old.

no brette, your other left.

argh matey!

doing my st. patty's day jig!

oh, well he is nice and soft.

who are you, big fella?

i killed him!

proof of the clapping!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

daylight savings

we have decided to work with daylight savings
instead of trying to fight it.
we aren't going to bump brette's schedule by an hour 
just because the time changed.
so now we start bedtime at 8:00 (which still feels like 7:00 to brette).
i like it because i don't have to try to retrain brette on when its bedtime.
this also means she's sleeping until about 7:00am and
then goes right back down until 8:30-9:00.
hello relaxing mornings!
now, ronnie and i have more freedom of an evening.
we have about an hour or more after dinner
before worrying about bedtime.
we can run errands, go for a dog walk, sit out on the deck or
go out to dinner at a more reasonable time.
especially in the summer when the sun is out longer
and the weather is nice.
speaking of the sun out longer...
over the weekend we bought a room darkening shade
for brette's window since she might eventually be going to bed
when the sun is still up.
those things are amazing and
i'm pretty sure its helping with longer naps too.  
so far keeping our old schedule has been working perfect for us
and brette still feels like she's going to bed at the same time as always.


Monday, March 10, 2014

oranges for everyone

ronnie and brette share oranges.
its pretty gross
and really cute.
she sucks the juices out of it
and then ronnie eats the slobbery leftovers.
not my idea of dessert,
but whatever.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

one two three

three little insights
into our week.
1. brette and i started going to a baby story time
every tuesday morning at the library.
i really love it. 
every week they sing songs, read a couple stories and have an activity.
last week we played with a parachute.  this week we played bells.
i even signed us up for a library card and checked out our first books.

ps- ronnie asked me how much is cost to rent books from the library.
i swear. so embarrassing.
2. i have this picture of brian (my brother)
and when i ran across it the other day
i saw his little girl in that smile.
don't you think?
3. i meant to mention this a couple months ago,
but sometimes b and i shower together.
have you other mammas tried it?
i would totally recommend it.
i hold her for a bit and wash her off,
then i sit her in her bumbo while i shower and
she plays with toys and the water.
she has so much fun and i don't have to rush through my shower.
this was us yesterday.
and yes, i am in a robe.
no comment.


Monday, March 3, 2014

and the award goes to...

did everyone watch the oscars last night?
i have a little winner right here with me.
cutest lunch date:
miss brette annaleigh
she'd like to thank her parents for the good genes.