Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Dearest Elyse,

Tomorrow is December 1. Do you know what that means?

It means I have just more month home with you. Big gulp. I have one more month to see you every day when you wake up and know it won't be to just hurry to get you ready before I leave you. I'll be here to put you down for your first nap. I'm here to go to the grocery store with you on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. Sniff your head at any given moment. Know how much you ate and how many diapers you went through. I will miss everything there is about being with you.

Not seeing your sweet face for several hours a day is gonna get me. Makes me misty just thinking about it. Here's to the next month. I'm not going to waste a second of my time with you!



Friday, November 26, 2010

BLACK Friday

The day after Thanksgiving, Bill headed South with his parents to put up his sister's Christmas lights. He took our girl and it was the longest I'd ever been away from her (sniff). Marcie, Allen and I went Black Friday shopping (INSANE). It was a first for all of us and we figured we may as well go all out. We met at my house at 3:30 a.m. When we got to Target (our first stop), there were 500+ people in line. Forget that! We went to the mall instead and hit Target later. We didn't get home until about noon - it was fun!

One of our stops was Joann's and we got supplies for a Christmas wreath.

We had glitter everywhere. Even poor Allen's I-Phone was covered!

But, it is so pretty!

It is an owl BELL! Isn't it cute?

Marcie and the final result! She is so creative!

I LOVE this wreath!

My baby made it home tonight after her big day. I did OK without her until I kept seeing babies at the stores later in the morning; then I felt that ache in my belly for her. I was excited to see her when she got home and we had good snuggles tonight. She is sleeping soundly in her crib now.

Have a great weekend!

Day of Thanks

BBQ was on the menu for Thanksgiving this year. Our non-traditional dinner wasn't disappointing at all, although I was hankering for a turkey sandwich today! However, the meal was excellent! We had ribs, creamed corn, PW mashed potatoes (made by Sue), baked beans, cowboy caviar, pumpkin pie (made by Marcie), sour cream apple pie with streusel topping and mac and cheese (made by Keri).

Carson fed his newest cousin a bottle.

Missy swung away while we ate dinner.

I loved on my girl.

We relaxed...

Elyse worked on being cute... and did a great job.

We played dress-up with her.

So dang cute.

Then it was time to nap with Dad.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waking With a Smile!

It might sound mean to you, but a while ago I stopped keeping the baby monitor on at night. Her room is right across the hall and when my girl really needs me, I hear her! Before, we were waking at every little peep, plus going in there when she wasn't fully awake. When Bill was out of town and I had a houseguest (Carin), I decided to try leaving the monitor off. What a difference! This is how we really started getting those long stretches of sleep at night. Glorious!

The last two nights (when she has slept in her crib, not her swing - HOORAY!), I slept in the room right next to hers so I could be sure to hear her right away. I didn't want to wake Bill up if she woke a lot during this transition. However, I think I can go back to my own bed tonight - she's doing amazing! Last night, she went down at 8:30 p.m. and woke up at 6:30 a.m. My little angel - so proud of her! So glad this transition has been so much easier than I thought!

I'm sleeping in the crib! from Courtney on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


View from the little camera in her room. Yes, we have a video/audio baby monitor.

Elyse slept in her crib last night!
I explained that Elyse has been sleeping in her swing. We read the Happiest Baby on the Block and were total fans! We crank up the white noise (waterfalls soundtrack to be exact) and she rocks away all night long - from nine to eleven and half hours. It is blissful. However...

I never can completely relish in it. I know that she can't sleep in that swing forever. December is right around the corner and at three months old we told ourselves we'd need to start working her into the crib. I had all these plans for how to start this transition and I don't know what came over me tonight. I was going to slowly turn down the rocking of the swing over a period of a couple of weeks. Then, I'd put her to bed in the swing and move her to the crib later in the evening. Well, again - I don't know what got into me! Bill had rocked her to sleep. He handed her off to me to put to bed. I carried her down to her room and... just thought I'd try laying her in her crib. I think I actually believed she'd start crying after about ten minutes like she usually does during the day. Guess what? SHE KEPT SLEEPING.

She slept until 4 a.m. and I fed her and put her back down. She woke again at 7:30 a.m. for another bottle. No, super long stretch like normal, but hey, pretty good! My little baby, so impressed with her. We'll see how we progress with this!

Monday, November 22, 2010

TEN Weeks

Baby Girl,

You are ten weeks old! Your Mama has done a terrible job taking pictures lately, but we've just been caught up with living life. I want to share this, but I'm scared to. I need to knock on wood or something. Maybe I'll just whisper it, "You are sleeping through the night." You are going down between 7:30 and 9 p.m. and you SLEEP. For nine to even eleven and a half hours STRAIGHT. It is a beautiful thing. I know it may not last. I know we have work ahead of us transitioning you out of that swing when you are three to four months old. In the meantime, we are just enjoying it! The swing and the loud white noise is our trick and has been so successful! Your doctor was so impressed with you!

Speaking of the doctor, you weigh 11.5 pounds now (60th percentile). You are 24 inches long (92nd percentile). You are doing great and Dr. R said you are doing amazingly well! She said to continue everything we are doing. Don't worry about scheduling naps or anything considering how well you are sleeping at night! She gave some suggestions for transitioning out of the swing too.

Being brand new to this world, you get to have lots of firsts:

YOUR FIRST SHOTS. You had shots in each leg (and liquid in the nose) last week. You are such a contented baby and have cried hard so few times. Your Mama did not expect to get so emotional. But, even your nurse didn't like giving you your shots. She kept saying, "You are so cute! I don't want to do it." Seeing your sweet, happy face burst into tears made my heart sink! You quickly recovered, but that night didn't feel well. Some acetaminophen and snuggles with Mama and Daddy made it better and you went to bed early. Sweet pea.

YOUR FIRST BABY SHOWER(S): Last Saturday, you were such a partier. You attended TWO baby showers and a welcome home party that evening (friend Renee and cousin Laura). You were amazingly good and snuggled with lots of people who care about you!

YOUR FIRST POWER OUTAGE. We had a terrible windstorm this week. It definitely bothered your Daddy and me more than you. The power flicked and then it went OUT. We panicked because your SWING and WHITE NOISE stopped - not good news for us when Dad has to work in the morning. We didn't want to fire up the generator right away. I am happy to report you didn't wake up when Daddy switched you to the battery operated swing and you rocked the night away in the family room in front of the fireplace with no white noise and me sleeping on the couch. You didn't even wake up when the battery died by morning (hmmm, could that be good news for our future sleep training?).

YOUR FIRST EARTHQUAKE. Our power stayed out for about 18 hours. That morning, I was standing at the sink washing your bottles and the generator was humming outside. All of a sudden, I noticed all of the dishes in the cupboard rattling away. It scared me and I looked back at your Daddy who was rocking you in the rocking chair. I thought something was happening with the generator. Nope, it was a small (3.5) earthquake. Once again, you didn't mind at all, unlike your Mom. Things scare me a whole lot more with you in the picture.

YOUR FIRST BATH WITH DADDY. Your Dad loves you to pieces. He is definitely a hands-on Daddy, but the one thing he hadn't done was give you a bath. You haven't really had many in your short life; the doctors advise against it because it can dry out your skin when you are so young. You get cleaned up every day with your warm washcloths (as I mentioned in my cloth diaper post). But, once or twice a week it is time for a real bath. You love bathtime and your Daddy did a great job. He rubbed Johnson's Baby Oil on you as I do after each bath and wrapped you up in  your towel.

Pic from three weeks old.

Then, he did something I have NOT done. He kept you wrapped up in your towel (no diaper) and took you over to the chair to rock you. I asked him what he was going to do if you went potty. He just shrugged, "Well, I guess I'll have to change my clothes." He loves you so much and you were so cutely snuggled in your towel he just wanted to enjoy you. I laughed and soon, we were both laughing. Yep, it didn't take long. A baby fresh from the bath in her towel is a little damp already. Soon your Daddy was thinking, "Wow, suddenly it feels really wet." Yes, you pottied on your Daddy and gave us both a great laugh.

YOUR FIRST SNOW. You barely ventured out into it, but we did take a trip over to Gram-E's new house. You didn't mind the flakes and kept on snoozing in your carseat.

YOUR FIRST BIG SMILES. You are still smiling, but now they can be huge, broad, wide-mouthed grins. You are so dang cute when your face lights up this way. I'm still trying to capture that on camera. I'll get it one of these days!

We love you my sweet pea, Lysey Girl.

PS: It was Grandpa Wood's birthday last week. We paid him a visit and brought him this card (with Lotto scratch tickets inside of course).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Little Organizational Therapy

I'm not sure where it came from, but I do love to organize. I've been that way my whole life. My Mom wasn't into it and she'd vary from loving my skills to hating it saying things like, "What have you done to my spices?" I'd respond proudly, "What do you mean? They're in alphabetical order so they are easier to find!" She loved to tell that story, but over the years, she'd beg me to straighten things for her.

Sometimes those that know me well are surprised when they open a closet or drawer only to find things in disarray. Hey, it happens to the best of us. But, I must admit. I often will think about that closet/drawer. It eats at me until I can make the time to straighten it up. My friend, Carin is a super organizer too. When she was visiting that closet was our list of projects to tackle. However, we quickly ran out of time as Miss Elyse became our primary focus. Can you blame us? Yes, so much for my time on maternity leave. I was worried about being bored, imagining myself quickly going through my list of projects around the house. No way. It is feeding, nursing, pumping, cuddling, laundry, playing, dinner, bottle cleaning, changing diapers, rocking, cleaning... in no particular order and many repeated several times throughout the day. Projects often get started, but are quickly left ignored as Missy is onto something new and needing something.

The closet where we store our appliances, Tupperware and serving dishes was that nightmare for me. I cannot believe I didn't take a before pic, I really should have. But, I can imagine you've seen it before. Bowls everywhere, lids on some containers, some missing their lids, etc.

After little Lyse went to bed, I took it on. Afterward, I had a bag to giveaway and some to toss (broken, missing parts). I labeled my canning supplies, disposable containers (so you can easily grab these when sending food home with a friend) and even tried to keep the containers for storing leftovers separate from those you'd want to grab when making your lunch for work. Oh, this felt so good!

I went to grab my cell to snap a picture. I had to show Carin that I had finally tackled my project. Then, somebody decided he wanted in the photo too. What can I say? I apologize for the poor quality of the photo.

Now, there's that overflowing basket of receipts I need to enter for taxes this year. Oh my...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is Green Bean Casserole on YOUR Menu This Year?

Trader Joe's Green Bean Casserole (recipe at bottom of post).

Have you ever had TJ's version of green bean casserole? Really, it is sooo much better than the canned soup version. You should try it (scroll down for recipe)! Turns out if you Google "Trader Joe's Green Bean Casserole" the third page that comes up is this one from Jahjong. The first two are from a TJ's fan website, but funny they are not the recipe from the back of their french fried onions. It seems TJ's no longer prints the recipe on the back of the french fried onions. Plus, you generally need your list to know what to purchase before you head to the store. All this has led to that recipe being almost the most popular entry on this site (other than the nursery reveal). Who would have thought me taking the time to list my Thanksgiving recipes last year would appease so many people from all over the world planning their Turkey Days. I get tons of hits from visitors and even comments from people thanking me for posting it. So funny.

Looking at that photo does make my mouth water. However, I won't be having any of that this year. Thanksgiving really snuck up on us given all of our attention focused on Elyse. Given our lack of planning and having a newborn, we considered heading out of town for some one-on-one time with our favorite baby girl. As much as we discussed it, deep down, I knew we'd stay home and do dinner. We host Thanksgiving each year around my favorite dining room table. It is something that means a lot to me as I love to entertain, but it is also something my Mom used to do so it makes me feel close to her. Hosting these holiday dinners helps me to feel that I am connecting with her somehow. We are hosting dinner at home, but were inclined to try something different this year. My brother comes each year and he also has dinner with his wife's family. Two turkey dinners - wow, that's dedication. This year, Corey is in luck. We are doing BBQ - no duplicate dinners for him! We'll definitely be doing ribs and I'm thinking of also making creamed cornbaked beans, cowboy caviar and sour cream apple pie with streusel topping and rolls.

Don't worry, we'll get our Turkey Day cravings satisfied. We can smoke a turkey and have our favorite green bean casserole on Christmas Eve! Wondered if any of you have ever done a non-traditional Thanksgiving?

In case you missed it, here is the green bean casserole recipe one more time:


2 T (¾ c) butter
2 medium onions
2 lbs mushrooms, quartered
4 t coarse salt
1 t pepper
2 24 oz bag TJ’s frozen French green beans
¾ c flour
4 c milk
2 cans 8 oz TJ’s Gourmet Fried Onion pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In your largest skillet over medium heat, melt 4 T butter. Add onion and sauté until begins to soften, about four minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened. Season with 2 t salt and ½ t pepper and set aside to cool.
Cook green beans according to directions on bag. If you buy Trader Joe's green beans there are no directions. Just boil water and cook beans until cooked through. Pour beans into strainer and set aside.
Melt remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add ½ c of flour, whisking constantly until mixture begins to turn golden, about two minutes. Pour in milk and continue whisking until mixture has thickened, about three minutes. Stir in remaining salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour over beans and toss to combine with onion/mushroom mixture.

Butter a 9x13 pan and add spread out casserole mixture.
Bake casserole, covered, until mixture is bubbly and heated through – about ten minutes. Uncover and cook until top is golden brown about 30 seconds. Sprinkle Trader Joe’s onion pieces over top and serve.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Birth Story: PART ONE. Don't Say You Weren't Warned

Thia heading is a bit more cautionary than necessary. However, I know I have a mixed audience and I want to prepare my male readers, family, co-workers, etc. who may not want to read these type of stories about anyone, let alone me!

However, I know some of you are curious and I know I appreciated reading others' stories before my big day arrived.

September 10 - Due Date.

Elyse was due Friday, September 10, 2010. My due date was pretty spot-on give or take a day or two since this was a planned baby. Given my gestational diabetes, my doctors did not want me to go much beyond my due date, so the plan was to induce me if I didn't go into labor on my own. I was scheduled to be admitted Sunday, September 12 with my induction beginning the following Monday morning.

I was pretty nervous, but the good news about going full-term is it does make you feel ready. Constantly running to the restroom, heaving myself off the couch, swollen feet, hardly unable to walk to the mailboxes, I was also pretty nervous about the delivery and having it scheduled was a relief about facing another uncomfortable week of pregnancy, but also nerve-wracking knowing exactly when labor was to begin.

On Saturday, September 11, Bill and I picked up some rentals from Blockbuster to entertain us for the weekend and keep our minds off the impending trip to the hospital. Every time I would stir, return from the restroom or get up for something to drink he'd smile and ask, "Feeling laborish?" That is such a difficult question to answer at nine months pregnant. I'd been having Braxton Hicks that felt like real labor more than once as I posted.

At about 1:30 p.m. I'd woken up from a nap on the couch (little did I know this was a well-planned nap!). I had a text message from Evelyn asking if there was anything I needed in the next couple of days. I responded that I'd like to fit in a pedicure. We made plans for her to pick me up in an hour. I walked down the hall to go to the restroom (of course!) and rubbed my belly. I was having contractions and they did feel a little different - this was tightening all across my stomach instead of just in one area. I shrugged it off. When I came out of the bathroom I went to the sink to wash my hands and... "Hmmm... What is that?" It was as if I were still going to the bathroom. I wondered if it was my water breaking, but it wasn't a "gush" as I was warned. I called Bill down to ask his opinion (I'm sure husbands love this part!). He said, "I think your water just broke." Speaking very calmly, I told him, "I'm not sure - let's just see what happens. Don't worry!" I did a quick clothes change and went to put on some makeup (just in case). My makeup bag - and all of my bags for the hospital were gone. I walked through the house looking for Bill and found him in the garage with all of our things loaded in the car! Again, speaking calmly, I asked him if he could get my small pink makeup bag out my bag for the hospital. OK, yes, I hadn't put pants back on and yes, the garage door was open, but I was trying to be nonchalant. He looked at me like I was nuts and said, "We need to go!" and I breezed off saying, "We have time, DON'T WORRY!"

I put on some quick makeup, hair back into a ponytail, grabbed a towel and a disposable changing pad to sit on our leather seats and we were off. We promised each other we wouldn't call anybody until we made sure we were really in labor. However, I remembered I needed to tell Evelyn something - she'd be over soon to pick me up. Bill also had to call Molli (our sister-in-law) as she was coming by to bring us a casserole. We arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter and were excited to get a front row spot! I felt embarrassed getting out of the car as I felt my wet pants and waddled my way down the stairs to Labor and Delivery.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bacon, Cheese and Egg Biscuit Cups

We were so blessed when we arrived home from the hospital with our new baby to a fridge, pantry and freezer full of food from friends and family. Our favorites were the ones we could stick in the freezer - particularly because we received so much at the beginning. We had enchiladas, salads, brownies, cookies, garlic bread and so many other wonderful things. Bill and I decided we definitely wanted to "pay it forward" and do this for another family one day.

One favorite I knew I wanted to make myself were these little breakfast muffins from Jessica. We kept them in the freezer and just microwaved one or two when we got hungry. I remember enjoying them one early morning when my mother-in-law spent the night and I was still having severe insomnia. Francie and I had a nice 3 a.m. breakfast, thanks to Ms. Jessica. Here is the recipe, courtesy of Jessica and Cooking During Stolen Moments. PS: I think Jess used sausage and they were quite tasty!

Bacon, Cheese & Egg Biscuit Cups

For Biscuit Dough:

2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. milk
1 egg, slightly beaten

In a large bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk and egg until dough comes together. Knead a few times by hand and set aside.

For Filling:

6 eggs
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. milk
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled (or sausage)
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
To taste: hot sauce, garlic powder, salt, pepper…or any other seasonings you’d like to add

Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Stir in cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add other ingredients and stir to combine.

To assemble:

Using about 2 T. of biscuit dough at a time, press into the bottom, and 3/4 of the way up the sides, of lightly greased muffin tins. Pre-bake at 400 degrees for 3 minutes.

Pour 1/4 c. egg mixture into each pre-baked biscuit cup and bake for 12-15 minutes longer, until eggs are completely set and biscuit cups are slightly browned.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just a Little Cuteness

My beautiful Elyse is always changing. I've been doing these weekly posts to her, but thought I'd stretch them out. Funny how that idea turned into not waiting until the week is up to post more pics of her. She is just such a good model for her Mama to play around with her camera. So, here is a very random post of some of the cute faces from the last few days.

At three days old Elyse was so tiny, the photographer had to pin her hat to fit her.

At eight weeks, it fits her now. No safety pins!

Before Carin flew out for a visit, she sent this monkey for Elyse.

It arrived in a ziploc bag before she got here with specific instructions for Elyse to cuddle with it before Carin's arrival.

You see, Carin had slept with it for a few nights so it would smell like her and help Elyse feel more comfortable with her once they met.

I love that. Elyse does too.

My friend Kim came by with some headbands for Elyse. I have known Kim since I was a little girl. When I was in elementary school, my friend and I spent the night with her and the next morning she drove us around downtown with the windows shouting out a tour on batter operated microphones and loudspeaker. LOVE that memory.

She was so excited to meet sweet Elyse. This headband says BFF. Too cute!

And this pic - it is just because she is so cute.

And sweet as can be.

Good thing her doggie is always close by to protect her.

Her kitty is never far away either.

And still quite the character.



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