Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Day of the Best Year

I was talking to my friend Laura today about how fast 2010 went by – my exact words…

“I didn’t do anything this year. Besides have a baby.”

And then we started laughing because that is a BIGGER deal than anything else I have ever done. And it’s so much more rewarding than anything else. I guess this year goes down as the most productive ever. The most breathtaking. The most humbling. The GREATEST!

Glad you are here, Baby Girl!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sugar Cookies

Katie has been busy making sugar cookies. If she has tried one recipe, she has tried a gazillion. I, keeping with the motto of work smart not hard, am enjoying the fruits of her labor. She has been testing different recipes for a couple of years in search of the perfect sugar cookie and I believe she has finally found one. Thank Heavens! She tweaked it a little and now it is just right…

 • 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• ¼ tsp. salt

• ½ cup butter, softened

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 1 egg

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 6 oz. white chocolate

Here are her exact instructions-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate and set aside. In small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt (so they're well combined) and set aside.

In large mixer bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy. Blend in egg and vanilla extract. Beat in melted white chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture until soft dough forms. Shape dough in ball; flatten to 3/4" thickness. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 15 minutes until firm.

On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness (I like mine pretty thick!). I also put mine on parchment paper. Bake until edges are golden. (I think if the edges start to get the SLIGHTEST bit barely golden, they are over cooked - take them out when they still look not quite done. I cooked them for 6 minutes.) Let stand 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely.

We enjoyed these over Christmas and I am just itching to bake some more because they didn’t last long!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Baby Blessing

The Sunday after Christmas we had Neely Jo blessed at church. I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted my cousin, Becky, to bless Neely. Becky is a very special person to me and I hope that she will always be a big part of Neely’s life. I knew she would be the perfect person for this and she did a beautiful job! Derrick and I were very excited for Neely’s big day at church and it was absolutely everything we wanted it to be! We also asked my Uncle Jim to assist Becky and he somehow managed to keep Neely from crying throughout the blessing. It was a miracle : )

Becky’s prayer really touched my heart. She talked about how Neely’s family had been there for her through her colic and how everyone was willing to walk with her and sit with her during this difficult time. She prayed that her family and her church family would continue to be there for her throughout the rest of her life to love and support her just like they have been. I had to fight back the big tears when she said this. I knew my cousin, James, was video taping and he would be sure to zoom in on my curled up face if I opened the flood gates. Let me assure you that if there is one thing I have never been able to master it is crying without curling my face. I sure would have hated to ruin the Blessing video with that sight.

After church, the whole family loaded up and went to eat at an Italian restaurant in town. I loved getting to spend extra time with our family before we had to leave to come home. It really meant a lot to us to have everyone there for Neely’s special day!

This is a great picture of Becky and Rob. Rob is going to be the next addition to our family because he and Becky are getting married in March! Everyone just loves Rob and we can't wait until we can claim him as one of "us". 

And of course before we left to head home, Chewmomma and Granddad had to steal back their newest granddaughter for some lovin. They are so cute with her! Every time I walk up when they are talking to her they are always saying, “Oh, we love you so much. We just want you to be happy. You just tell Granddad (or Chewmomma – depends on which one of them is talking) what you want and Granddad (Chewmomma) will get it for you. Anything you want, baby girl.” (I just know one day she is going to ask for a pony and Derrick is going to have to learn how to build a barn.)

Derrick and I are very happy that Neely Jo had her Blessing and we feel very lucky to have such a wonderful family that helped us make her day beautiful!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry, Merry Chirstmas!

We have been busy with the hustle and bustle of Christmas! School is out for Derrick and we have been taking advantage of every last minute of family time we had. We just got home last night from spending a long Christmas weekend with my family, and as nice as it is to be home…we already miss them.

My Aunt Sue always has a Christmas Eve party at her house. I always look forward to this night because not only do we get to spend time with family, she always has the most amazing foods! Tons and tons of appetizers that just make my mouth water thinking about them. I should have taken a picture of the spread, but Derrick and I were too busy trying to capture an action shot of Cousin Eli jumping on the couch. This is our best one…

And despite our best attempts, he refused to get too close to Neely and smile. He actually covered his ears when she cried. It was hysterical. Rachel did coax him this close, but this is as good as it gets…

But even with a crying baby, the party went on and it was my favorite one to date!

Neely Jo, bless her heart, was completely wore out and ready to be back at my parent’s house for some time with her Granddad. He has always had a way with children and Neely is no different. She just fell in love with him rocking her…

Before I go any further, Neely’s snow boots are entirely too big for her. And they are extremely loud to look at. However, my Granny insists that all babies be dressed in their warmest clothes from head to toe, covered in at least two blankets and prefers them to be sitting close to a roaring fire. There was no way Neely was going to be allowed to only have tights on in Granny’s presence. And her crib shoes are too big to stay on, so snow boots were the only answer. Snow boots with fur on the inside, mind you.

Christmas morning we (Derrick and I) slept in! Woot! Woot! It was wonderful. Neely Jo got to spend some quality time with her Grandparents.

When we finally got up we opened gifts. Neely actually seemed more into Granddad feeding her than her presents. She didn't get that from me. There is nothing I love more than presents. Although food is a close second.

After a day of gorging ourselves on turkey and dressing, we went to my grandparents and gorged ourselves again on oysters and red velvet cake. It got ugly. Unfortunately, Neely was really content playing on her new exercise mat which gave Derrick and me this opportunity to eat like a field hand and gobble like a hog (just like Mammy from “Gone with the Wind" says).

It was such a wonderful weekend and I am so happy that Neely got to spend her first Christmas surrounded by so many people that whole heartedly love her. We really hated for it to end...especially Neely.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Little Lamb, I Love You

I had a shower today. And I blow dried and straightened my hair. Finally, I slapped some make-up on my face. All while Neely Jo was awake. And she wasn’t crying. This is a milestone for us! She has only spent MAYBE 15 minutes MAX in her swing, bouncy, crib, or whatever without crying.  I don’t think I have ever been happier! I have been calling family members all day and bragging about taking a shower (I normally do take showers but they usually involve me jumping out half covered in soap with conditioner in my hair because Neely is having a tee total come apart). Thank you little lamb hanging on the bouncy seat. You are magical.

Mall Rats

We are quickly becoming mall rats. It was twenty degrees here today and absolutely unbearable. So…we went back to the mall again today. We were in desperate need of Christmas gifts. This tree is looking all too sad without any presents under it.

And Neely was sooo incredible good at the mall today. I was nervous because I had taken her to the mall two weeks ago and it was about the worst experience of my life. She threw a major conniption fit and there I was all by myself with tons of mall walkers staring at me trying to calm my baby and kicking the stroller down the mall (she was so wild it took both of my hands to hold her which meant I had to kick the stroller). This is after I spent a solid ten minutes with the stroller stuck between the racks at Gymboree and a red faced baby screaming. I don’t think I will ever go back there again because of the shame. Seriously, people were judging me all over that mall. I rushed her into a dressing room at Macy’s and while I fed her I thought about having a good cry for myself.

But anyway, today was a different story. I actually had a little angel baby. You wouldn’t have even known she was there except for the fact that she would pull her blankie up and down over her face to check things out every little bit. I think this might have been her first attempt at peek-a-boo. And it was adorable.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Santa is Fun and Mommy is Crazy

It is hard for me to believe Neely Jo is already going for her two month well visit. This is all happening to quickly and I want to push pause so I can enjoy this time a little longer. I just want to sit down and cry because I know she will never be my 6 pound 8 ounce baby girl again. She now weighs in at 9 pounds and 5 ounces and is 22 inches long. Dr. Kries says she is growing at a perfect rate, heart and lungs sound wonderful and that she is quite strong (I assure you this is not only a reference to her physical strength. The child is strong headed and not at all ashamed of it).

She handled her shots very well. Better than Derrick or myself (we both covered our faces). Since she was so good, we decided to get some shopping in and to take Miss Neely to see Santa. She loved him. I know this because she didn’t scream in his face. Thankfully.

Derrick had basketball practice so we had to leave afterwards and Neely and I took a big long nap. Well, when I woke up she had a fever of 100.3 and I flipped out. They told me she would probably have a fever and not to be alarmed but to call them if it reached 99.4. These are things that went through my mind…

1. I am a horrible mother who took a nap while her baby had a fever.

2. I let her fever get an entire 1 degree higher than I was supposed to before I called.

3. I don’t have a clue how much Tylenol to give her.

4. How fast can I lower her temp in the bathtub?

5. When will she start getting brain damage because I am careless?

After running around my house in complete hysterics (seriously – I was completely out of control and screaming) and watching Derrick feed off of my nervous energy, I started making phone calls. After I called Dr. Kries, my friend, Laura, my sister, sister-in-law, mother and mother-in-law I now realize a few things…

1. 100.3 is not anything to worry about after vaccines.

2. There is a chart for how much Tylenol to give infants.

3. I should not have put her in the bathtub to lower her temp.

4. Babies fevers shoot up whether you are taking a nap or not.

5. Derrick and I need to invest in a tranquilizer gun and take turns shooting each other when we have first-time-parent-events. We have a tendency to overreact.


Neely is totally fine. She has been an angel every since we got her out of that cold bathtub. I think she is so happy not to be an ice cube that she is pretty much content doing whatever tonight.

Even though I am completely calm now, I think I will still sleep with one eye open tonight. Just incase.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Littlest Spartan

Well, basketball season is in full force and Derrick is LOVING his new job at South Warren. This week they played three varsity games and won them all! Saturday night was their first home game and Neely Jo and I showed up to support the Spartans. Well, that is what we intended to do but really it seemed more like Neely crowd surfed through the stands while I passed out antibacterial gel. I was really nervous that she would be a bear and cry the whole game, but she actually was surprisingly good.


One of the softball coaches (Coach Riggs) gave Derrick two baby outfits for Neely Jo. She is definitely to Littlest Spartan showing up in her onesie. The back of this outfit says “Clubb” and the other one says “Asst. Coach”. Derrick always says he wants her to be a girly girl, but he looked really excited seeing her in her sports apparel.

We got to see Derrick’s HS Basketball Coach and his wife Nancy, who brought Neely Jo a present…

And they gave her this tiny little basketball with a teddy inside. So sweet!

Of course no public outing would be complete without a few outbursts…

I didn't get any great action pictures of Derrick. I kindly asked him if he could just look up in the stands and smile every so often, he said probably not. Apparently he has bigger things on his mind than my photo shoots when it's game time. Here is the back of his head.

As far as the game, the final score was 50-32. Life is so much easier when Derrick’s team wins so let’s hope they keep it up!

P.S. Life is also easier when I see this face. I know this Little Spartan will be getting a good nights rest and so will Mommy!