Friday, October 30, 2009

Purdiest Cotton Boll I Ever Saw

It was Brad's idea for Blair to be a cotton boll for Halloween. He was right on the money. She looks adorable. We are so thankful we have Grandmom, because she worked super hard to make this costume. It's perfect! We won't be trick or treating this year, so this is Blair's own little virtual costume parade!

Happy Halloween!

Look how fat it is!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


When I studied in Spain, one of my favorite things to eat was lentils or lentejas, especially when I lived in the dorms while doing my masters coursework at the University of Salamanca. Lentejas was the one of the dishes that I could always count on to be excellent. I love Spanish food, but the cafeteria at the dorm was really good at messing it up!

I had never made lentil soup at home until recently. My husband is on a dried bean kick, so I bought every type of dried bean I could get at Walmart and pledged to try them out for him. My friend from college gave me a recipe for a lentil soup, but when I got the urge to fix it, I didn't have all of the stuff. Since we're limited on groceries we can buy around here in nowhereland and since I have a tendency to decide to cook something at the last minute, I had to make do. We always had potatoes and/or sausage in lentils in Spain. I didn't have potatoes, but I did use turkey sausage to keep them as healthful as possible. The lentils turned out really nicely, so I thought I'd share!

Lentil Soup

1 16 oz. bag lentils
2 T olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
4 cups water
salt & pepper
1 pkg. fully cooked turkey sausage (or other sausage)
bay leaves

Cook lentils according to package instructions, adding salt to taste, and remove from heat when softened but not mushy. Drain and set aside. (I don't know if you're supposed to drain them, but I did!) In a large pot, sautee bell pepper, onions, and garlic in olive oil until soft.

Add tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes. To tomato mixture, add lentils, bay leaves, and four cups of water. Slice turkey sausage in bite sized pieces and add to soup.

Simmer for 30 minutes or more for more flavor (up to an hour or two).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

12 Month Pictures by Captured Photography

Jessica Mills at Captured Photography recently did Blair's 12 month pictures. I have done most of Blair's pictures over the year, but I don't trust myself to do a nice big one that I want to hang on the wall! Jessica is so talented, and the pictures are fabulous.

Blair wasn't all smiles the whole time, but Jessica got a few smiles, and she really caught some of the expressions that are just so Blair. I look forward to using Captured Photography again. Jessica is an amazing photographer and it's definitely a plus that her prices are super reasonable! Check out a few of the pictures in the October Sessions album on Captured Photography's Facebook page. Also, you can click on the picture above to go directly to the album.

Farmer Appreciation Day

Blair with her daddy in the peanut field on top of the peanut hay.

I heard on the radio today that less than 3% of Americans are farmers. That percentage is low but there are lots of them in our area, and we are celebrating them today with Farmer Appreciation Day! Blair and I appreciate our farmers, Daddy and Andad!

Blair on top of the peanut wagon.

Funny that Farmer Appreciation Day is today, because none of them can enjoy it. Most of them are digging or picking peanuts, baling hay, or defoliating or picking cotton. It's a busy time of year for our farmers, so all of the non-farmers are downtown celebrating! Blair and I had to go run an errand, so we just looked at the tractors without getting around too many people.

There were several old tractors on display.

This tractor was going to be in the parade, I believe. Her shirt says, "I Farm You Eat."

They had some bands set up to play. Blair enjoyed the music!

Unfortunately, there weren't many arts and crafts booths. We didn't go over there to see what there was. I didn't want to get close to other people with Blair.

They had the street blocked off with peanut wagons.

Another tidbit I found: in the USA, the number of people in prison/jail is greater than the number of farmers.

Happy Farmer Appreciation Day! We love you Daddy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

This little piggy had a party.

Well, I have to say that Blair is about as far from a pig as one can get. Although she is eating better, she is by no means a pig like she was when she was in the hospital. Regardless, the child is obsessed with Baby Einstein Baby McDonald, so a pig party it is for her first birthday!

I did invitations even though we didn't need them. I really wanted something for Blair's baby book. And, I thought it would be a good way to communicate the party theme. I couldn't find an invitation that I loved, so I made them, and they turned out really cute. I used a MS Word clip art pig as my pattern. First I got my wording all set and printed it on a piece of card stock. I cut the body out around the words. (I don't have a fancy printer so that was the only way I could work it out!) Then, I cut out the head, nose, eyes, ears, and feet separately and glued them all in the appropriate places. I used textured card stock for the nose and feet. I put the nose and head on with double sided foam tape to give the pig a little depth. Then I added a few things with a marker and glued on the pearls. I wish I had glued the pearls better, because some of them fell off in the mail! The invitations were exactly what I wanted though.

We just had family over to our house for the party for several reasons: germs/flu/colds, our house is tiny and not a fantastic "party" house, and Blair will have many more birthdays where her friends can come and she will actually be old enough (and well enough) to enjoy them.

Mommy and the aunts

GT and Mema smiling at something Blair is doing.

Andad and Grandmom

Yay for Aunt Kimmie!

We let her open gifts first. She really liked her new toys, clothes, and books.

She wanted to play the uh-oh game with the bath toys that Aunt Molly gave her. Into the empty box, uh-oh, get it back, into the empty box, uh-oh....

She LOVES books, especially ones with animals.

Give the kitty a kiss.

She liked the ball popper from Aunt Kimmie!

Reading with Gigi.

Paper is fun too!

Afterwards, we all ate supper. Blair had one of her favorites: vegetable pasta medley. We're still working on food textures with her. She gags pretty easily, so she's not eating much table food still. The adults ate ribs, green pea casserole, macaroni and cheese, and bread.

After supper, we ate the pig cake with homemade vanilla ice cream. Yum! Blair touched her pig cake, but she didn't eat it. I didn't expect her to really. I knew as soon as she felt squishy, she was going to look at me like, "get this off of my hand!" My mom made both of the cakes. The little one was precious. It was just right. The big one was amazing! It was precious and delicious. She did a super job. I think she surprised herself!

The big pig cake

Blair's little cake

Blow out the candle!

She took the nose off.

And handed it to me.

Blair was great during the party. Her bedtime is 6:30 or so, so she did well to stay up until 7:30 playing. She was so worn out though, it took her a while to go to sleep. It was a great first birthday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Super Year

After a rough start, we've had a super year with this baby. She's come a long way this year. We're so thankful to God that Blair has been healthy since we've had her at home. The happy busy baby we have today is a world of difference from a year ago. It is truely a miracle that Blair is here and thriving!

Blair on October 9, 2008

Blair on October 9, 2009

She makes us laugh constantly. We really can't get over how good she is... still. It amazes us that she hardly ever cries, goes to bed super easily, and is just happy happy most of the time.

She's a booty in the air sleeper, cloth diaper in hand.

The eating is the most difficult part, and it's not all that bad. She knows yogurt by name now and does her bye-bye wave to say she wants it (and anything else). We started Pediasure at the end of August, and it's going well. She gained over a pound the first month. She's eating better overall but still eating mostly pureed baby food without chunks. She ate sweet potato cubes one day without gagging, which was good. I have chunky baby food for her to try often so we can try to get her gag reflex desensitized some! It's not working yet.

Here Gus, you eat this.

Blair has five teeth. She just got one on the top, but it's on the side instead of in the middle, so she has a fang! Mine did the same thing when I was a baby. The other three on top will follow shortly I'm sure. She wears a 2 or 3 diaper and 9 or some 12 month clothes. She grows out of the length but everywhere else is too big! She weighs about 15 pounds 5 ounces and is 28 inches long. And she has one freckle -- on her hiney!

All kids are funny to their parents. Blair has always been funny to us as well, but now Brad and I sometimes look at each other and say, "Where did she get that from?!" For example, not only does she now imitate someone coughing, she drags her nebulizer around like a purse with the strap on her shoulder. She also points the remote at the tv and puts a cell phone to her ear like she's done it her whole life. All of those things she started doing after only observing us. We were shocked to see how observant babies really are -- she's soaking it up!

My purse has never been so heavy! (It has the nebulizer in it.)

Hey, Dada!

Blair likes to crawl under things now. And she hides stuff under any furniture that has a skirt. She also likes to remove things from drawers, boxes, bags, etc. and then put them back. Over and over. She is still into pulling all of the cloth diapers out of the bottom drawer of her dresser and throwing them up haphazardly on the floor.

I'll just put the remote under here so mommy can't find it... and my paci, my brush, Gus's ball, a few toys, and a shoe.

Put makeup in the bag. Take makeup out of the bag.

She calls Gus. Uuuuuuuuu -- with a note change in the middle just like mommy does it. One morning, I was calling him, and she called him every time I called him. She likes to pretend like Gus is going to chase her. She gets all excited and crawls fast from him, but he doesn't care. I'm sure he'll play with her one day. Right now, she just puts her fingers in his eyes.

Singing is one of her favorite things. She loves Itsy, Bitsy Spider. She raises her arms up high and puts her fingers together. She also likes The Wheels on the Bus. She tries to do the "beep, beep, beep" and "move on back." She bounces up and down whenever we sing any song. She didn't get rhythm from her mommy, but she's got it! She also loves books. She goes through phases of which ones she likes the best. She crawls over to the book shelf and heaves one off to give to the nearest adult. The latest favorite is The Three Billy Goats Gruff. It's the biggest book we have, so she has a time handling it! She does a lot of kissing books -- kitties, the boy in I Love You Through and Through, most anything she likes. It's so cute!

This book mommy. Read this one, please.

We've been working with b words for her early intervention speech therapy (for her hearing). She knows almost all of the things in the
b bag full of b toys. She's not saying any of them, but she'll pick them all out one by one by name: baby, brush, ball, bear, bottle, bubbles, beads, book, box and bird. She knows open, close, where's your purse (nebulizer bag), where's the duck, sit down, and love the baby. She pats herself when asked, "Where's Blair?" I think it's great she knows Blair, hair, and bear -- especially with her suspected hearing issues. She also brushes her own hair, feeds the baby with the bottle and gives her a paci, and puts on and takes off beads -- all on verbal command.

She says "uh" for up (to be picked up), and "uh" for uh-oh. She loves the uh-oh game. Her daddy plays it with her. She throws the item back on the floor and saying "uh" before he can even stand back up all the way! He also plays what he calls "Doodle Unit operation" and makes her laugh so hard by burying his face in her tummy. Yes, she usually chooses him over me. Who wouldn't with a daddy who's that much fun?!

You are the best thing we have ever done. We can't described the joy you bring to every day. Daily, we sit and watch you with huge smiles on our faces. We are so thankful for you. Every day, I tell God how thankful I am for you and that he has kept you well throughout this year. Your daddy says he wants to spray you with pix so you'll quit growing, but we both know that we have such wonderful days in store for us watching you grow up and do new things. Your kisses make me smile, as do many other things you do. We are so blessed, and you remind us every day.

We love you.
Mommy and Daddy

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's her birthday!!!

Look who's so excited to be one year old!

Happy birthday Blair!!!

Mommy and Daddy love you very much!