Sunday, December 16, 2012

21 Months

My heart is heavy as I write this post. There are many families who will not write about their child's next birthday because of the sin and evilness on this Earth. My words are not always so eloquent, so I encourage you to read: She has put things into the words that I want to say. My prayers go up to the families of the victims of this horrific tragedy.

Onto my sweet boy....he turned 21 months on Saturday. I can't believe we're quickly approaching age 2. He is soaking everything up and I love him more and more every day.

Our sweet boy has an opinion. He is now trying to eat what he wants to eat, meaning cheese crackers, for every meal and every snack. We may have a small fit every time it's a meal or snack time. No big deal. Though he has his moments, he's a pretty chill little guy. He is best with a routine and he does well following directions. (Knock on wood.)

He's been really sick during the past few weeks. He's had a really bad cold that we're treating with all natural cold medicine and a humidifier. Thankfully, just in the last few days, he seems to be on the upside, but it's made his normal great sleeping patterns not to great. The past week has been tough at nights, but I know he will readjust.

Jude has learned a lot over the last month. He can identify 25 letters (V stumps him up) and he knows the colors white, black, brown, blue, purple, and yellow. His favorite is brown, including his brown cow and brown M&M's. He can count to 2, haha. He continues to love his animals and he's enthralled by the Christmas tree and ornaments. He's pretty excited about riding a bus, choo choo, and aiw pwane next week to visit family!

Jude is also doing well with making his needs and wants known. If I say something he doesn't want, he'll let me know. He also requests, "Mommy do dat" if he wants me to help him. If I try to help when he wants to be independent, he'll say, "No, Jude does it." He talks about his friends from school, Sutton, Andrew, and Reece being his best buddies. He also loves going to church...they have a train table in his classroom, haha. He does talk about singing about Jesus when we pick him up.

Because of his bad cold, his appetite hasn't been awesome this month, so he seems scrawny to me. :( He's in 18-24 month clothes. The lengths fit him well, but he usually needs a belt at the waist. He may be skinny like his Daddy.

Without the cold, he usually is in bed by 8:15 or 8:30 and awake around 7. He naps for 2-3 hours after lunch every day.

I can't believe how big our "baby" is. After the holidays, we will be moving to a "big" bed. Bap (his paci) will soon follow and potty training will be my spring break mission in April.

Happy 21 Months Sweet Baby Jude. We love you so very much!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jingle Bells

 Though this wonderful mother forgot to press "record" on her camera, another mother did not, so I was able to get copies of pictures and video of Jude's first Christmas program. He and his class "sang" Jingle Bells, aka, jingled bells while the tape played, haha. Jude did great. No tears, but  no smiles either. There were a few hams that were trying to run around the stage and Jude just sad there quietly. He did not seem amused.
 Here he is jingling his bells.
Justin and I were quite proud of how well he behaved. We also think he's pretty stinking cute with that crazy hair of his. He continues to learn and grow so much. I can't believe we are celebrating his 2nd Christmas and I am thrilled to spend my days with this sweet boy!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My "First Son"

Jude and Mason, being best buddies

Before Jude was born, our blog frequented our "first son" Mason much more. I guess he gets put in the shadows to Jude man. I don't think I've ever stopped to give credit where credit it due to this faithful friend of ours.

Let me begin with stating I was never a dog lover growing up. I always had dogs in our house growing up, but I could take them or leave them. I loved them and didn't want harm to come to them, but I didn't spend a lot of purposeful time with them. However, while in college, I worked for a family who had a beautiful golden retriever and I fell in love with him. I think part of it was because he was so good with my client who had special needs. He was so patient and loving and it made me realize how much dogs really understand about us. I knew then that I wanted to get a bigger dog eventually.

When Justin and I married, he also wanted a dog. He always wanted a Plott hound, which is the state dog of North Carolina, our home state. They're also from German decent, and so is Justin's family, so we decided to go with this breed. (They're also a very loyal, intelligent, and gentle breed.) Justin found a breeder and in July of 2007, we became "parents". Mason was a very good puppy. He was house trained easily and had tons of energy. He was a typical puppy, in that he would chew certain things (my crocs and Justin's socks specifically) if left for him to chew, but he never did some of the crazy damage you hear of other puppies doing. We grew to love him quickly and he became a part of our family, making the haul to NC from AL every trip we made.

A year after we got Mason, he some how got into some really heavy poison in our neighborhood and we almost lost him. I had just found out I was pregnant with Jude and I was so emotional. He was in the ICU for 3 days, but our boy pulled through. (I won't mention the bill to his vet visit.) After that, Mason had to relearn many things and he's never been quite the same. I do thing he suffered some permanent damage, but he's still so loving and gentle.

When Jude was born, Mason was impressively possessive and protective of him. From the beginning, where Jude has been, Mason isn't far to follow. They play and wrestle, share dinner more than I'd like to admit, and bring much laughter to our home.

I must also add that Mason has endured our many adventures of moving. He did great in AZ, with the exception of his MANY escapes from our back yard while our neighbors dogs were in heat. He's also done well with adjusting to apartment life. He's always had a pin or open yard so we were unsure of how he would do. He does need his daily walks, yes, plural, walks. Just going outside to go potty does not do it for him. He must have at least 30 minutes of hard, go all out play to be manageable inside, but he's worth it.

Though the immense amount of black hair and the extra time it takes can sometimes drive me up a wall, I am so thankful we brought this black sweet baby home with us. He is involved in so many of our wonderful family memories and I am thankful that God gives us relationships and companionship in ways we sometimes forget.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Taco Casserole and a Litte Tip

It's been a long while since I've posted a recipe so I thought I would add one for this week. :) If you know me at all, I enjoy cooking. I love finding or creating that perfect recipe, making it, and having people I love enjoy the final product. I don't even mind cleaning up...a little bit of my OCD kicks in.

When we moved to WA, I realized quickly that I wasn't enjoying cooking any more because it took time away from Jude. I already feel that my time with his is so spare during the week days that I actually got emotional about it one night. So, starting in September, I went back to my routine when I coached volleyball and started cooking yummy meals on Sundays that make good leftovers. I try to make something for Monday/Tuesday, then something for Wednesday/Thursday, and EVERY Friday is our weekly pizza or chicken nuggets. :) Sometimes these meals include crock pot meals like Taco soup, Ranch Chicken, or a roast. Mostly though, our meals consume of casseroles or lean meats with sides. It is such a good feeling knowing that all I have to do when I get home is put something in the oven or on the stove prep needed.

This week, I've prepared a yummy recipe that I forgot how much we enjoy and how good it is as a leftover. I hope you enjoy:

Taco Casserole

-1.5 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
-1 package low sodium taco seasoning
-1 can refried beans
-1 can crescent rolls
-1 cup shredded cheddar
-Optional toppings, in which I use all: sour cream, salsa, black olives, jalapenos, & shredded lettuce
*1 shredded zuchini. See disclaimer below. :)

-Cook and drain meat. Add 3/4 cup water and taco seasoning. Let simmer
-Grease 9 x 13 casserole dish and spread crescent rolls in dish, pushing together seams. Bake according to package directions. (375 for 10-12 minutes I think.)
-spread refried beans over cooked crescent rolls
*place shredded zuchini over if desired
-Spread meat over
-Top with cheese
-Bake for 6-7 minutes at 350 or until cheese is melted
-Serve with toppings and tortilla chips! YUM!

*Thankfully, sweet Jude is a really good eater. He will eat just about anything, including lima beans. However, my husband is not a great veggie eater, ok, but not great. I have found that my boys don't like the same veggies. Jude likes green beans and lima beans--Justin despises both. Justin enjoys asparagus, which is WAY too expensive not on sale so that doesn't happen often. He also likes zuchini and spinach salads, neither of which Jude likes. I can't get either one of them to touch broccoli. With that said, I can't do all or none, so I've started sneaking in veggies in EVERYTHING. Zuchini, steamed carrots, and spinach are the most inconspicuous so I've started using my electric chopper (not as gross as pureeing them, though I will do that for soups) and add them to just about any recipe. I've put one or all veggies in recipes such as chicken pie, spaghetti sauce, corn cassrole, and taco meat. The key is to make them chopped fine enough that there are no chunks. Any who, I've been doing that since the summer and it's working well and I feel better that both Justin and Jude are getting veggies every day. :)

Enjoy the recipe!