Little Mr. {12 Months} !!!

If you can believe it our little mister is officially 12 months old!

On October 16 we saw Owen take his first few steps. I suspect he'd been doing it already at daycare but it was the first time we'd seen it at home. It was sooooo cute and we could see the confidence in his face. After a few weeks a few steps and tumbles turned in to lots of steps and even his ability to turn around without falling! I can only imagine how quickly he'll start to run around. Hopefully that waits until after the first week of March! Not sure I can keep up with him with a huge baby bump in the way! I doubt I'll be so lucky :)

Owen is beginning to really like his touch and feel books. He's becoming not so much of a fan of diaper and clothing changes and this is one way we get him to calm down and relax. He loves to turn the pages and knows immediately where to touch. Babies are so smart! We've got work to do about biting books though...Owen still loves to bite and chew on just about everything!

Owen got a sixth tooth on October 19, the upper right central incisor. It's crazy to see a mouth full of teeth! Near the end of his 11th month, I noticed a more drippy nose so we'll see if another one pops out soon.

The best I could do! You can see three of the four top teeth :)

The week before Halloween, we got a call from Daycare. Owen got a few small blisters on his hands and they suspected it to be Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease. It's a common contagious viral infection and simply needs to mend on its own. Sunflower requires a doctor visit before a child can return. Unfortunately, a common symptom is a fever so Owen needed to stay home for three days. Luckily for us, his symptoms were pretty mild. Some cases get pretty uncomfortable. Owen just had those few blisters, a fever, slight malaise and a lack of interest in taking a bottle because it hurt to suck on anything. He was eating everything else just fine so we opted to feed him quite a bit more with fluids than normal. He also slept really well during the day. We don't often see the three hour nap! The symptoms cleared up pretty quickly and I'd say he was back to normal after a week or so. Easy peasy. Until I got sick the next week...

We've definitely entered the messy table food adventure! Owen was always pretty interested in what we were eating and probably could have gotten to the table food sooner than we introduced it. He's able to pick or scoop up the little chunks we give him pretty well and is getting better and better about actually getting the food into his mouth. He sometimes thinks he got it in there and will start to chew but we can easily see the food is still in his hands or stuck on his face. It's pretty adorable. He's had bananas, peas, carrots, bread, cheerios, puffs, fish, turkey, chicken, mild cheddar and provolone cheeses.

We managed to wait to get Owen's haircut until November 8 but silly me only requested a trim. What was I thinking? If we didn't get it cut again soon, we'd be back at the barber within a month! So we opted to get it cut again on November 15, bright and early at 8:15 a.m. That's what happens when you put your husband in charge of setting up the appointment :) I typically don't get up OR shower that early on a Saturday! Regardless of the time, I'm glad we were able to get him in again. The haircut makes him look so grown up!

Owen is a pretty tiny mister weighing in under 20 lbs. I'm going to do some research to see what types of food he should eat to help plump him up! It's so weird though to think he's gained 11 lbs since birth! He had four shots and a blood draw for this 12-month appointment today and so far, he's doing really well. Lucky for daddy who got to stay home with him today, Owen napped for 3.5 hours :)

12-Month Appointment (11/25/2014) 
Weight: 18 lb 11 oz
Height: 29 3/8 in

9-Month Appointment (8/25/2014)
Weight: 17 lb 6 oz
Height: 27 3/4 in

6-Month Appointment (5/19/2014)
Weight: 15 lb 8 oz
Height: 26 inches

4-Month Appointment (3/18/2014)
Weight: 13 lb 1 oz
Height: 25 1/2 in

3-Month-Mommy-wants-a-weight-check Appointment (2/18/2014)
Weight: 11 lb 5 oz
Height: 24 in

2-Month Appointment (1/14/2014)
Weight: 10 lb 9 oz
Height: 22 7/8 in

2-Week Appointment (12/2/2013)
Weight: 7 lb 12 oz
Height: 21 in

Newborn (11/16/2013)                  
Weight: 7 lb 9 oz           
Height: 20 1/4 in

Catch up on Owen's First Year!


What's for Dinner {31} - Kale Parsley Pesto (without nuts!)

Why did I wait so long to post this recipe? I have absolutely no clue! This is one I shared via instragram more than once and should have put up immediately because it was a huge hit for me this summer. I actually first made a spinach version but decided to use kale for a couple of reasons. It's better for you in some respects and it was more plentiful at the farmer's market. Done and done. One caution - mine didn't turn out super creamy like some pestos which was just fine for me.

Though I'm not 100% certain this is the exact recipe I based my own on, this is a good start to any type of pesto. Choose your green, then the herb, (preferred nut if you wish), and then add in the rest of the ingredients for your perfect pesto!

Kale Parsley Pesto (without nuts!) adapted from the Spinach Basil Pesto by Two Peas and their Pod

4 cups kale,
2 cups flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

Place the kale, parsley, garlic, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Turn on the machine and blend for 30 seconds. Slowly stream in the olive oil while the machine is running. Process until smooth.

Serve with pasta, veggies, chicken, fish, as a spread, etc. Store the pesto in a jar or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This pesto also freezes well. Enjoy!

Note-if you like a thinner pesto you can add a little more olive oil.

I attempted a couple of times to freeze the pesto but without a ton of luck. If you eat it soon, I'd suggest keeping it in your fridge. I don't tend to eat it all that often so decided to freeze them in little bits wrapped in foil. I'd simply put them in the microwave for a few seconds and then put them in whatever I was cooking - roma tomatoes and/or shrimp. Well on more than one occasion I failed to cook it properly. I think once it got too hot it lost a lot of moisture. It just stuck to the noodles and became inedible pretty quickly. I either need the pesto to be a bit more creamy or be more careful when cooking it. I also read somewhere that to freeze it without the cheese may be wise as well.


Little Mr. {1st Birthday Recap}

Owen's birthday came and went by soooooo incredibly fast! It's hard to believe that just a year ago, we were spending our few couple of days at home with a teeny tiny newborn, scared out of our minds. We've all come a long way in 365 days and what better way to celebrate than with a fun and easy birthday party for the family!

It took us a little bit to figure out and agree on what theme to use but I decided on a simple monster theme for a few different reasons. One - it's not too difficult to come up with monster themed items - the silverware container, the sandwiches, the cake. Two - it was simple enough for a one year old to enjoy. I didn't want to use a theme that an older child would like or would get into a bit more (like a painting or italian themed party!) Owen is our little monster so it was a perfect fit :) I created the invite using PicMonkey.com.

I created a pretty simple menu for the birthday bash. I knew I wanted monster sandwiches and those were made with turkey or ham and either provolone or mild cheddar with green olives for eyes. We left out condiments for people to use as well. For sides I made a garlic lovers pasta salad using a store recipe so I am not going to share it for the masses. I do suggest you try it though so you can get it at Oneota Co-op in Decorah! We also had a simple veggie tray along with the punch and water. One day I will need to post the punch recipes. It's my favorite! Luckily for us, I bought way too much of the sandwich ingredients, made way too much of the pasta salad and bought twice as much punch ingredients that we're practically celebrating his birthday every single day this week!

Owen wasn't all that interested in opening the presents after the first couple so he let his Daddy take care of that while he tried out some of the new toys. I think the favorites of the evening were the chair my dad made, the lawnmower (thanks, Drew, for putting it together!) and the little hammer that's meant for an xylophone. Surprise, surprise - he could stick it in his mouth :) My guess is that if we had put together some of his other toys that those would have be huge hits as well. Right now, he's loving the noise making hammer and the little tambourine though he's using them both more as chew toys right now. Just this morning though, Owen kept reaching over to me with the tambourine in his hand because he knew that I'd shake it for him while he held on. He'll get the hang of it soon enough!

I asked a Luther student to make Owen's birthday cake. I could have created it myself but I'm not too confident even using a boxed cake. Somehow I would have managed to messed it up. Thank goodness I left this job to someone else because it turned out so darn adorable! Owen wasn't too shy but didn't really smash the cake either. He got quite of bit of frosting but I helped crumble the cake for him. Fearing a massive sugar high and subsequent crash, I took the cake and crumbles away after five minutes or so. We had monster cupcakes for everyone else. Note to self - have small plates for the dessert! They can get a little messy :)

Thank you for our immediate families for making Owen's First Birthday so special!


The Bump II {4} - Recap: 20-24 weeks

Energy & Motivation
I've been so busy the past few weeks so I can't say I've gotten a lot done but I have definitely gotten back some energy. I'm so glad this has happened because for the past few weeks I have successfully planned our weekly menu (lunch and dinners) and followed it about 75% of the time. To go from literally eating the same (separate) meals for months on end to this is amazing (This couldn't have come at a better time. Dare I say I was getting sick of tomatoes...) I'm really enjoying the time to figure out what we could have and then come up with a grocery list that goes about the store most efficiently. One thing we need to work on is to determine other items we need to buy for the week too, like toiletries and other house supplies. We've always bought those items on an as needed basis but that always meant we were more likely to grab food items that we didn't necessarily need. With this little babe on the way, we need to be better about all that extra spending!

I'm anticipating a few more brain cells to free up now that Owen's birthday has come and gone so I will be making and following our preggo and eggo to-do list closely. I've got some exciting ideas rolling around up there and now is the time to get some of these things done!

Cravings with this little mister have gone from greasy to salty to sweet. For about 17 weeks it was all about the hashbrowns and literally just that. I could have eaten those at every single meal. Then came the insane desire to have my dad's homemade beef jerky. I was sooooo ready to tackle that one myself but he cautioned me against it and then so did my doctor. Well fine. This was during the time I was horribly unmotivated to do anything so I ate pasta and tomatoes for just about every evening meal. That got old at about 20-21 weeks and luckily so did my desire to have beef jerky. Instead, that craving was replaced with all things sweet. I'm trying to not indulge quite as much but that's just plain difficult when your co-workers bring in lots of treats or there are leftovers from events. At home, it's pretty much been powdered donuts. At work, if I truly can't help myself, I go grab a king size of peanut butter M&Ms that specifically says to "share" on the package. I'm pregnant - does that count as sharing? I can tell he likes it because he'll move around like crazy when I eat them.

Pregnancy Symptoms
Looking back at the symptoms I had when I was pregnant with Owen, I think I'm pretty lucky. I haven't yet experienced heartburn or acid reflux which I hope continues. That was pretty awful and annoying. That has been replaced by the occasional massive headache and some joint pain that comes as goes. Sleeping isn't too bad these days either which has been nice. I'm not completely bothered anymore if I wake up and can't fall back asleep right away. One night I just turned the lamp on and read until I got tired enough again. Gspice just sleeps right through it. Darn him.

Owen did get sick a few weeks back, which was manageable. But then I got sick. That was no fun. I'm not 100% sure it was exactly what Owen had but if it was, I was pretty contagious so I opted to stay home for a few days. I was well enough to work a little from home which was nice. What I didn't appreciate was the massive number of fever blisters I got on my lip - holy cow that was brutal. I could tell they weren't cold sores that I am used to getting because that usually is just ONE and I can typically address it before it gets too out of control. With these, I put on Abreva like it was my job and they still got to a pretty terrible state. Ew. Ew. Ew.

Baby movements are still pretty limited even though I know he's busy squirming and moving about. I can feel lots of hiccups and some really soft kicks and punches. I've had Gary feel a few times but the little stinker decides to be stubborn and stops whatever movement he's doing. I think that means I just need to eat more peanut butter m&ms :)

We had another ultrasound at 20w2d which confirmed this little boy is healthy and progressing like normal. They estimated he was about 13 oz at that appointment and his heartbeat to be right around 150. We never heard the weight estimation with Owen but I suspect they were similar in size. Let's hope - I loved Owen's squishy newborn size! 

This may be the most unusual gender photo I have ever seen....

Bump Update
I have definitely grown a bit faster with this one. I've only gained about 5-6 pounds at this point but man, this is quite the bump! It hasn't bothered me one bit but a few people have expressed surprise knowing I'm only so far along. Yes, I know. March is still 3 1/2 months away. I don't need you to remind me :) However, when I look at the bump in the mirror, I know there's a lot of growth left to happen. I was huge with Owen at the end and I'm nowhere near that uncomfortable stage yet. I'll admit, I'm not really looking forward to that!


What's for Dinner {30} - Rosemary Herbed Pork Chops with Shallot Wine Sauce

It has been quite awhile since I've posted a What's for Dinner post! To be real, it's because I was barely cooking a dinner for us to be worth sharing. For months there were no new recipes tried, no looking up fun ideas on Pinterest....NOTHING. But alas, I have come back to life! I recently got back in the groove of menu planning and for the first time ever, we've done a decent job sticking to it! So look forward to quite a few new recipes in the coming weeks and possibly months - you know me, I'm not always completely on top of this blog thing :)

I'll start with the fact that this was not a big hit with Gspice. He alerted me afterwards that he's not a big huge-chunk-of-meat person. Um, what? Who did I marry? I say BRING ON THE MEAT! Gary was ready to throw out pork from our diet completely! I got a little worked up because I have a love affair with pork.

Let me ride off on a tangent for a moment - I attended a really nice winter wedding in Chicago back in 2009 with this lovely brood...

At this wedding was the best pork I have ever had. I was so obsessed, I asked for their business card. One day I wanted to have them cater one of my events. I'd hold an event in Chicago simply to have that pork again. Don't believe me? Look at how they presented and served the big cuts of meat!

Then came a few too many vodka cranberries for the both of us....

We both got pretty sick which was NO good - a topic that Andrew's parents will probably never let us live down. I don't mind - it's such a fun memory :)

As you can guess, I've wanted this meat to be a staple ever since. It never has been because I'm still terribly intimidated by it. I told Gspice that we should stick to a more tender cut so we haven't thrown in the towel just yet.

I, however, really liked this dish. And to me, that's why it's worth sharing!

Rosemary Herbed Pork Chops with Shallot Wine Sauce from Bam's Kitchen
*2 tender thick cut pork chops (I used bone-in pork chops)
*1 T olive oil
*1 1/2 T rosemary, freshly chopped
*2 t Seasonings (dried onion, salt, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, orange zest and paprika)
*1 c whole unpeeled mini onions (I quartered whatever onions I had - shallots and odd shaped white onions I got from the Farmer's Market)
*1 c white wine (1/2 for roasting and 1/2 for sauce)
*1/2 c water
*S&P to taste
*1 T butter

Pre-heat oven to  375 F.

Rub your pork chops with olive oil on both sides. Season pork chops with fresh rosemary and seasoning mixture. Heat up an oven-proof skillet or pan to a medium-high heat and sear for just a minute or two on both sides of seasoned pork chops. Remove from heat.

Next, add 1/2 cup of wine and onions. Bake your pork chops uncovered for about 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F or 160 F if you like well done, depending on how thick your pork chops are.

Remove your pork chops for the pan and rest covered for 5 minutes. (Do not wash the pan that you cooked the pork chops in.) Instead place the pan you cooked your pork chops in over medium heat. Add wine to deglaze the pan.  Add water. Chop up a few of the caramelized mini onions (shallots) and add to the wine sauce. Allow the wine sauce to reduce to about 1/2. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the burner and add a tablespoon of butter to finish the shallot wine sauce.

Serve pork chops with a drizzle of shallot wine sauce on top. Enjoy!