Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween Caramel Corn Recipe

Our little sweet pea wanted to share this recipe with you!

World’s Best Caramel Corn

1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar (packed)
1 C butter
1 C light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 - 4 bags buttered, salted microwave popcorn

Put some sheets of foil on your counter to cover a space about 30" x 30". Spray the foil with cooking spray.

Pop the popcorn and place in a very large bowl. Transfer by handfuls to ANOTHER very large bowl, letting the kernels drop to the bottom. (This step is critical - you don't want any kernels in your caramel corn!)

Now place the other ingredients in a large, heavy pan with high sides. Cook over med - med high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel almost reaches the Firm Ball stage (about 240-245 degrees on a candy thermometer). Pour over the popcorn and combine with a LONG wooden spoon so you don't burn your hands.

Pour the caramelicous goodness out onto the foil, and let it cool as long as you can stand it. Then share it with someone you’d like to sweeten up!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just the Girls

Carin (my dear college friend) flew out from Kentucky to visit baby and me and the timing couldn't have been better as Bill was out of town for a few days. She does NOT like her photo taken so I had to sneak in a few here and there.

We made caramel corn for us and to share with the neighbors as part of the Halloween Boo Neighborhood Game (have you heard of it?)

We hung around the house, went shopping and played with the baby (of course!).

OJ came down Wednesday night and on Thursday we drove up to Alderwood Mall to visit Julia (another college roommate). We met at PF Chang's and noticed a gal with a baby about Elyse's age. Turns out he was EXACTLY Elyse's age - born the same day just a few hours younger!

It was so great seeing Julia as well as her twin sister, Mary (not pictured, darn!). Well, they are identical so just picture Julia with longer hair!

Here is Julia's sweet daughter, Georgia. She is a cutie. Julia shared with us some clothes for Miss Elyse when she gets older. Thanks so much, Juli!

OJ, Carin and I had a fun time afterward just sitting in Barnes and Noble talking, drinking Starbucks and oogling over Baby Girl.

Carin, thank you so much for coming to visit us during this special time. You were such a great help and it was great just getting to spend time with you. Elyse is going to miss her Auntie. She loved her time with you! We love you!

Seven Weeks

Dearest Elyse,

It is hard to imagine with each passing week how we could love you more. Each stage you enter is with mixed emotion. I love seeing the changes, but get saddened about what we've already left behind.

With cousin Colton (just eight days older than you).

You can wear some of your newborn clothes now, but most you've outgrown already. You cried your first real tears on Tuesday and sometimes when you fuss you stick out your bottom lip (sad girl!).

Aunt Jody.

You slept through the night for eight hours in a row TWICE this week. It is so glorious for all of us!

Six weeks was definitely your growth spurt and were eating constantly for most feedings - growing girl! You are pretty close to moving up to four ounces per feeding.

You are EXTREMELY happy in the late mornings. You love lying on your back looking outside, at the ceiling fan or just talking to us. You squeal, coo, smile, wave your arms and kick your legs. We love watching you!

We also mastered the Moby Wrap. I figured out (finally) how to use it and you sure love being in it. As a matter of fact, you are asleep in it right now as I type this posting!

You love, love your activity mat and once even fell asleep after a good play session!

Every once in a while, you do this funny nose scrunch thing. I haven't been able to catch it on video, but I did snap a pic of you in mid-scrunch.

We love you, sweetheart! Your Daddy was away from us for FOUR WHOLE DAYS this week at a conference - an eternity for him! He missed us girls! Thanks for the extra love you bring to our home! We love you!

- Mama and Daddy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Six Weeks

You and me on Day Three.

Dearest Elyse -

Six weeks! With your cousin Colton being only eight days ahead of you we knew what was coming this week - a growth spurt! Right on time you followed suit and started wanting to eat like a champ!

Yes, Mama made you that shirt!

But, feedings were often followed by naps.

You do love snuggling with Aunt Marcie!

Sometimes the cameras are too much!

You enjoyed a surprise visit from Cameron too!

A bunch of Mommy's friends were here on the day you did NOT want to sleep! You were literally up from 12 noon to 10 p.m.!

You just wanted to enjoy everyone and they did like seeing you!

You are my sweetest angel!

Thanks for another week! We love spending this precious time with you although Daddy goes back to work too soon!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chatty Leesey

I know some have found themselves calling Elyse "Ellie" as a nickname. It is a fine enough name, but for some reason it just doesn't fit for me. Mostly I just call her Elyse or every other name like sweetie, angel, babycakes, pretty girl, you name it. But, in the last few days another name has developed. I really don't know how you'd spell it, but she from time-to-time she has been my Leesey Girl or even just Elle.

Here is dear Elyse, or whatever name you use for her, in action at five weeks. Chatting away!

Elyse - Five Weeks from Courtney on Vimeo.

Elyse - Five Weeks Part Two from Courtney on Vimeo.

For those having trouble, make sure you are just clicking on the play "arrow button" to view. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Five Weeks - Roadtrip Girl!

Dearest Baby Girl,

You are five weeks old now!

We had a visit from Cameron this week. He and his family were in town from Texas. Boy, did his daughter Kate like you!

Creighton was pretty interested too!

We have been wanting to take you over to Spokane to meet your Eastern WA grandparents, Ted and Jeannie. Daddy's leave is running out and this was the only weekend that worked, so off we went! You did so well on our long road trip. You loved looking out the window at the sunshine at Ted and Jeannie's. Afterward, you'd need a little snooze.

Ted and Jeannie really enjoyed spending time with you!

You even got to skype with Jeannie and your mama's former boss - John Scherer all the way in Krakow, Poland!

Your Daddy and I enjoyed taking you on this first special roadtrip. It was worth the extra stops!

You are my most special girl!

Angel, I love you so much. You are becoming so much more expressive. Love you, sweet thing!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ONE Month

My dearest baby girl,

You are one whole month today. I cannot believe how fast time flies. You are so precious. We just can't get enough of you.

I have been reading The Happiest Baby on the Block and it has made us the Happiest Parents on the Block. It is fascinating to learn about newborns and what makes you happy (and not so happy). The Five "S"s have been a lifesaver - swaddling, sucking, swinging, side, and shhing. We make sure to swaddle you "before" you eat. If you really got to choose, I'm guessing you would tell us that you don't like to be swaddled. You love wagging your hands and arms around and sucking on your fingers, thumb and/or hand. However, if we just do it you sleep much better as you don't wake yourself up! You don't always want your pacifier, so the "sucking" option is used the least. You love your swing (more to come on that). When you are fussy, we often lay you on your side with your back to our belly and it is amazing how this calms you. Lastly, we shhh in your ear and/or play white noise when you go to sleep (more on this too!).

You've been sleeping beautifully at night in your swing. We crank up the white noise (waterfalls track to be exact) (thank you, Beth) on your I-Home (thank you Karen and Ann!), set the swing to the fastest setting and you sleep "most" of the night away.
We've learned to NOT put you in the swing when you are fussy - you have to already be calm.

Sometimes, after your morning feeding, you enjoy coming to bed with us. You will often sleep another hour or so on one of our chests or snuggled next to us. You enjoy the closeness.

You love, love having your diaper changed! Isn't that funny? This is actually you hanging out on your changing pad - you love it and sometimes we leave you there for a bit because you enjoy it so much.

You have so much hair - especially in the back. I had to snap a picture of it even though you did not enjoy this. We try "tummy time" every day as instructed, but you don't tolerate it for very long.

Some have asked how Wilson and Libby are doing with you. Well, I'll let these photos answer that question.

Libby was quite nervous when we first came home from the hospital. But, I think that had less to do with you and more to do with me not feeling well and the anxiety from your Dad and me. The better I've felt and the calmer your Mom and Dad have been - the better and better Libby has been.

Libby adjusted quickly and is back to her old self. She LOVES you and whenever there is a squawk out of you she thinks we aren't reacting quickly enough to, she runs to us as if to say, "Take care of our girl!" Wilson is actually pretty great with you too. If you are on the floor, he is close by to check you out.

What a difference a month makes. I thought about this being your "one month birthday" all day long and I find it so funny that you woke me up for your feeding at the EXACT time of your birth one month ago. I was shocked when I looked at the clock and it said 2:49 a.m. Funny girl!

You are such an amazing addition to our family. We've enjoyed being able to be home with you and soak up as much time with you as we can. It is precious to us.

You both nurse and bottlefeed. Breastfeeding was incredibly important to me, but it hasn't been without its share of difficulties. And the outside pressure and consequent guilt - wow! It hasn't been real easy on your Mama! Maybe sometime I'll do a separate post on this topic, but for now I will just say we have had to supplement with formula. It bothered us at first, but our doctor has been very supportive and reassuring, particularly given that you are still getting breastmilk every day. I am proud of myself I've hung in there as at times it has not been easy. You've done so well and have no adjustments going back and forth between nursing and bottles. You are just happy when you are hungry and we are giving you food! Our routine has actually worked out quite well and one that I hope to be easy to continue upon my return to work.

You are a sweet thing, my girl. We love you with all of our heart. Thanks for making this month more special than ever.


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