"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sweet potatoes

I had Eleanor on my hip as I prepared my lunch plate during the Harris family Thanksgiving on Friday. I'm used to being able to do that without a problem. I'm not used to an almost 5 month old who puts her hands in everything, but that's how I wound up with a tiny little hand in my sweet potatoes. She's reaching for things on purpose now and paying extra attention to what I'm eating. Those are the eating readiness signs, right? 
It just so happens that I was already planning on making sweet potatoes her first baby food. (Not the candied kind!)   So during nap time today...
I put a couple of sweet potatoes in the oven to bake. After nap time I made baby food with Eleanor watching from the MamaRoo. 
One medium sized sweet potato. Baked. 
I peeled the skin off and put the potato in my NutriBullet. I had to experiment a little to get the proper consistency, but I wound up adding about 6 ounces of water to get the right runny consistency for beginner foods. The NutriBullet worked great. 
I spooned it into these little containers that I already had. (I think they must have come in a combo pack of plastic ware, because I'm not sure why I would have bought 4 oz containers.) 
Since we are just getting started, I only put about and ounce in each container. That will change as Eleanor can eat more at a time. For today, my one sweet potato filed 9 little containers with plenty left for our first feeding tonight. Easy. So easy. The potatoes had to bake for an hour or so, but the actual time I spent making 10 days of beginner baby food was less than 10 minutes. I left one container in the fridge for tomorrow and put the others in the freezer. Fruit and/or veggie baby food can be stored in the fridge for about 48 hours and can store in the freezer for several months. (I will likely use the ice tray freezing method in the future, but I don't currently own any ice trays!)
Now, with baby food made, it was time to feed the baby. Hilarity. Bless Drew's heart for picking up my phone and taking pictures without my asking. 
The look of uncertainty... 
Probably shouldn't have given her her own spoon. It was just a distraction. 
What does this face tell you? I'm thinking it says, "what the... ?!" 
"You're kidding me, right?" 
Another bite? Seriously? 
Not cool, Mom. Not cool. 
Stay away from me with that spoon. 
Oh, it was so funny! She just didn't know what do think. We'll try again tomorrow evening and just keep practicing. These early baby foods aren't about nutrition, they are just about new tastes & textures and learning how to eat. 
Nothing ends the day quite like a freshly bathed baby. She's the best. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bring on the Christmas trees!

Saturday was Christmas tree day.  The tree that I bought at the flea market was purchased because I wanted a 9 ft tree for my new living room and I found a bargain.  Despite Drew's effort & expertise, the lights could no be saved and new lights had to be purchased & strung.  We braved Walmart on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, in the cold rain.  (Note to self: Always buy more lights than you think you need.  You can always take extras back later.)  Short version of the day... 1750 mini LED lights, 3 hours and an extra trip to Walmart... my 9 foot tree was lit. 
 Drew & Eleanor were great cheerleaders throughout the day (and very patient with me as I invented our new tree).  We watched Christmas movies (don't know why, but that sure does help motivate & get me in the spirit) and by 8:45pm we had a decorated tree.  It's huge and it's beautiful! 

 Kicked back on the couch together and admiring the finished product. 
 We also tried to decorate the banister with some garland that I bought at a thrift store and the one extra strand of lights.  We plugged the lights in before we started and everything worked fine, but the garland was awful & stiff and by the time we got the entire length of garland wrapped, the lights didn't work.  Seriously.  I guess I jostled them around too much.  Drew worked so hard to find the problem and fix it, but we finally called it a loss.  We all plopped on the couch for a break (notice the failed garland and 6ft later in the background). 
 Eleanor was looking too cute to not snap a few pictures before church this morning.  Oh, her expressions. 

 This afternoon Drew & Eleanor watched football while I put up our old tree in the dining room.  It's silly & unnecessary, but I've always wanted a house where I could have more than one tree & now I just happen to have three trees.  I used a $5 roll of burlap ribbon that I chose not to use on the big tree & everything else came out of storage boxes from previous Christmases.  I think it's fun to have a tree in front of the window. 

So, yeah.  That's how I spent my weekend decorating Christmas trees.  The scrawny tree is still naked in the playroom and Drew & I have decided that it is to be our family tree.  The tree with our sentimental ornaments.  We'll do that together this week sometime. 

Harris Thanksgiving

On Friday we had Drew's family to our home for Thanksgiving.  Dottie came early to help me prepare (Drew had an appointment at the VA, so it would have been just me & Eleanor getting things ready for the family gathering).  I'm not sure how I got through the first half of the day without ever taking a photo of Nonnie or our cooking mess, but I did.  Finally, everyone else arrived. 
Alex is fabulously pregnant and her baby bump (whose name is Corbin!) is adorable. 
 It was a cold & rainy day, but the view through our back windows was still lovely.  JR was keeping a close eye on the dogs in the backyard. 
 Pat's apple pie came with the top cut out in squirrels. 
 Eleanor, Alison & John
 Jessica, Jason & JR
 After dinner Drew convinced Pat to help him pull out the new Christmas tree.  It's new to us, but was bough second hand and we were told that the lights didn't work.  We were hoping a miracle could be performed to make the lights work, but no such luck.  Thanks for trying, boys. 
 Eleanor & Uncle Jason
 I can't help it, I had to have another picture of Alex & her baby Corbin bump.  (and I just noticed that Eleanor & Larry are photo bombing in the background!  Oh, Larry!) 
 The tree is large and was taking up too much room, so JR just crawled underneath. 
 Family photo with the whole gang.  Yes, Pat is wearing my baby.  He was getting a Moby wrap lesson from me & there's no better practice than a real baby, which I just happen to have! 
 I thought I could catch John & Dottie for a photo with all three of their kiddos, but it didn't go according to plan.  Pat was still wearing Eleanor, JR was ready with a shining smile & I don't even know what is going on with Jessica & John's expressions.  A+ for effort? 
It was a full day and I ate SO much.  No, really.  I ate SO much.  I'm sure every person in Drew's family was tired of hearing me complain about how full I was, but I couldn't help it.   Lunch was so yummy that I over did it.  Then there was cheesecake.  Then there was pie.  Oh my goodness.  I was so full it was nearly painful.  Thank goodness for stretchy waistbands! 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

McCarty Thanksgiving

Today's Thanksgiving was at Kyle & Misty's. We had a wonderful time! 
 Kyle fried the turkey and it was delicious. 
Braeden, Grandpa & Kayla
  Braeden, Grandpa, Eleanor & Kayla
 I took Grandpa home after lunch & came back to find everyone nearly asleep! 
 Ken & Mom
 Drew & Kyle (yes, yes, Kyle's mustache is curled at the ends.  what do you call that?)
 Just relaxing and having a good time 
Made a mess looking at sale papers. 

I'm not sure what Drew & I would do without these two people. Love them. 
We very much missed having Casey, Sasha, Tessa & Payson with us this year but hope that they enjoyed their first Thanksgiving in their new home. 


My heart is so grateful for what God has provided in 2015.  I am grateful for my past and my time as Alex & Emma's mommy because it has prepared me for this new adventure.  I am grateful for the young woman who never had a fair chance in life and for the incredible decision she made for her daughter to have more.  I am grateful for the time we spent getting to know her and that she chose us to be Eleanor's parents.  I am grateful for Esther, who listened when God placed us on her heart and has not only facilitated the legalities of Eleanor's adoption, but has shared in our joy.  I am grateful for each and every day that passed and how our story has unfolded.  I am grateful for my daughter.  I am grateful for the man that I share my life with.  I am grateful for this house that we call home.  I am grateful for Drew's career, the professional opportunities it provides and for a company that prioritizes family & faith.  I am grateful for family & friends that have journeyed with us, cried with us, and laughed with us.  To God be the glory!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Prep

After my last post I decided to take down the pink & purple Christmas stuff in the playroom. 
I felt better immediatly.  Alex & Emma aren't forgotten, but I can do without the pink & purple Christmas decorations of Christmases past.  Now the pitiful Charlie Brown Christmas tree is naked until I decide what else to do with it.  We are thinking Razorbacks? 
Monday was just a yucky day overall.  Eleanor had one of those "my thighs are so chunky that I got stuck in the Bumbo" kind of days.  I mean, those thighs are fabulous, but they do get stuck in the leg holes from time to time and when I pick her up the Bumbo stays firmly planted around her legs. 
For tummy time she decided it was just way easier to lay her head down and take a rest. 
I made egg salad for dinner and this happened.
It was just one of those days, but Tuesday was much better from the moment we opened our eyes. 
Eleanor rolled from her tummy to back again this week and Drew saw it, so I know I didn't make it up.  Yesterday she was even giving her best effort to roll from her back to her tummy. 
Hey, Larry! 
Today has been a great day.  We visited Grandpa and made plans to pick him up for lunch at Kyle & Misty's tomorrow.
And then we came home to start cooking.  Add this to the list of things I can (and love) to do while wearing Eleanor. 

Twenty minutes later my helper had fallen asleep on the job. 
Two hours later my kitchen looked like a bakery had blown up. 
Once the baking was done and Eleanor finished her nap, we had some tummy time in front of the mirror in her room.  She loves looking at herself and today she propped her little face on her hand and I had to take more pictures.  Had to. 

I don't think that anyone wonders what I am thankful for this year.  So very much.   I'll save that post for tomorrow, but here's a hint...