Sunday, November 22, 2009

Evie Laughs

Evie has the sweetest little laugh. Just hearing it can brighten your day. We were fortunate enough to capture it on video so now we can have a smile whenever we need one, even if Evelynn is not in such a laughing mood! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

6 Months

Modeling her Thanksgiving dress
Evelynn is 6 months old yesterday. Time is moving impossibly fast. I'm so in love with this little girl and I can't wait to see what she'll do next. And in the same breath, I'm so sad that her time as a wee one is so short. In another 6 months she'll be walking, talking and getting into trouble. It's just the blink of an eye it seems.

She's learning so much every day. Nothing gets past this kid. Her eyes and hands are taking it all in. Along those lines, she may be part goat.  We have to make sure to keep all paper as far away from her as humanly possible.

She's had several milestones lately. She can get those toes to her mouth now and loves to gnaw on them, especially her left big toe. She can stay in a seated position for long periods of time, but she can't get there on her own yet. However, if you put her in a seated position, say, in her crib within reach of the lowest side rail, she can grab it and pull herself up to her favorite position- standing. Ack! Standing on her own! But fortunately she can't get into that position without our help. So, we're not lowering the mattress just yet. She still doesn't roll over. Not that she can't. Stubborn little girl just won't!  She still HATES being on her tummy and gets so mad about the situation, rather than rolling over, she just slams her face into the floor or mattress or whatever she's laying on. From her back she easily rolls to her sides but sticks her foot out to stop her from rolling over and ending up in the dreaded tummy time.  We say she'll skip crawling and go straight to running since she likes being on her feet so much. But she really wants to crawl. She's certainly trying to master climbing on Mommy and Daddy. It's like vertical crawling.

Evelynn has been trying all kinds of "solid" foods. So far she LOVES bananas. Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Squash, Pears, and Apples are all pretty good. Peaches.... eh... she'll eat them but she's not really a big fan. And she does NOT like peas.  The most surprising thing she eats is Green Beans. I won't come near them. I once tried to turn my parents in for child abuse for attempting to make me eat them. The kid doesn't love them but she will eat them. I'm sort of wondering if someone else has my real child. She wasn't liking her rice cereal very well so I stopped giving it to her for a few weeks and restarted again this week. Things went over much better. Of course, the first night I mixed a substantial portion of bananas into it so that probably helped.

I am the luckiest mommy on the planet sleep wise. Evelynn is very predictable. She wakes up around 7:30 each morning and is up for 2 hours then takes a nap for somewhere between 45 minutes and 2 hours. Wakes up for the next 2 hours and back to sleep for an afternoon nap. Usually she's up for 2 hours after that and takes a short evening nap before going to bed for real between 8 and 9. And then she's done. She sleeps all night. If she wakes up, generally she puts herself back to sleep. No crying. I don't have to get up and go in there for a cuddle. She makes a little coughish sound plays with her toy for a few minutes and right back to sleep. It's been this way for a few months now. Bliss! Of course, on the rare occasions that she is off her schedule it really wipes me out.

My sweet little girl goes through phases of her favorite sounds to make.  Recently it was that high pitched squealy sound baby children make in restaurants. Thankfully that one passed quickly and her Daddy and I never reacted. We didn't want to teach her early on that that sound got to us. Now her favorite sound is "pffffttt" complete with spittle. It's very cute. And she's learned to give raspberries. She does them on my arms all the time but it's most fun when we can get her to do it on her Daddy's belly. That cracks all of us up. Well, not so much her daddy. But the girls think it's hilarious.

Happy Birthday to my sweet smiley girl. I love you more each day.

Getting ready for her first Christmas trying on her new Santa Hat I made her.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saving, Saving. Saving. er, sort of.

The Hubs has been laid off for over a month now. Severance runs out right around Thanksgiving so we're doing all we can to try to save a little cash. Fortunately we have a great family that has helped out a LOT with Evelynn even before the lay off. I have never bought even 1 package of baby wipes and probably only 2 or 3 packs of diapers in the nearly 6 months we've had this beautiful baby.

Here are a few things we've done to try and save where we can. 

1.  Entertainment.  Our entertainment budget consists of the cable bill right now.  We've stopped eating out and seeing movies. It really wasn't that hard since with no family near by and thus no babysitters we hadn't been going out all that much anyway.  But we are holding on to the cable for now.  It also includes phone and internet. With both of us at home we pretty much consider that a need.

2.  Groceries.  Meal  planning has really helped us get the grocery budget under control.  We now spend $100 or less a week on food.  That's HUGE for us.  Before Evelynn was born we were probably spending double that at least with all the eating out we did.  The only problem is that food that is better for you costs more and goes bad faster.  We used to go to the store several times a week and just pick up a few things here and there.  Now we go once a week and have the whole week's menu planned ahead of time.  We've also quit going to the nice grocery store 1 mile from the house and instead trek clear across town to buy groceries at the dreaded Walmart.  Yes,  I hate shopping at Walmart but when their price is half of what the closer store charges it more than makes up for the added gas. However,  it really has been a challenge to   create healthy meals on cheap ingredients.  I've been trying to make meals that will be sure to provide leftovers and things that I can use twice, like the rosemary grilled chicken we had yesterday.  I'll use the leftovers to make our own pizza tonight.  The fact is though,  canned veggies, pasta and rice are cheap.  I can see why there is such a great obecity problem, esspecially among lower income families.

3.  Gas.  I mentioned that a moment ago. With neither of us working,  there are days we just don't go anywhere.  Considering Hubs used to have a 30 mile commute each way,  just being laid off has slashed our gas expense.

4. Misc.  We stopped spending everywhere we could.  I switched from salon shampoo to Panteen, Bath and Body to Dove.  Neither of us have bought clothes or music or dvds.  I made Evelynn's winter hats instead of buying them.

We still have the mortgage of course and the car payment, gas, electricity, water, trash,  insurance and student  loan.  But we are fortunate not to have a dime of credit card debit. So you'd think we'd be saving tons with all this right?  Not so much.  We had to go on COBRA coverage when the health insurance termed.  Even with the government subsidy,  one month of coverage is more than the rent on my first 3 apartments! 

I am so SO glad the house passed the reform bill (no thanks to the Kansas representatives with the exception of Dennis Moore).  I only hope the Senate can pass their version quickly so we can start to see some change.  If you'd like to see how your representative voted,  along with how much money s/he received from the health insurance companies and what percentage of their constituents are uninsured,  click here.

Evelynn's Favorite Toys

We love these great toys by Lamaze.

Evelynn's first Lamaze toy was Celeste the sun and moon. I had it hanging where she could see it from her car seat from before we even brought her home. She would stare it at long before she had the motor skills to use her hands. Now, nearly 6 months later it hasn't lost its appeal. She loves to crinkle the little yellow rays around the sun's face.

The next toy we got was Jacques the Peacock. Evelynn loved his little orange beak from the time we picked him out in the store.  We hardly go anywhere without Jacques now.

But now Jacques has a rival for Evelynn's affections. Just this weekend my grandmother and I took Evelynn shopping with us and she picked out her own toy. It was between Stretch the Giraffe and My Friend Emily. Well, Emily won out hands down.  Given both toys Evelynn went straight for the doll and ignored the Giraffe completely.  My baby's first baby doll! So sweet!

You'd think we'd have enough by now, and we probably do. But with the hubs being Canadian and all, we do have an awful fondness for Moose.  So.... Mortimer Moose will most likely make an appearance in Evelynn's stocking at Christmas time.

Isn't he cute?! Plus his ears are teethers so, it's practical. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The Hubs and I Love Chipotle. Yummy! But, the closest one is over 100 miles away. So we had to improvise when the Chipotle craving hits. It works out pretty well since you get to control the ingredients and create something that tastes just about the same but with a more reasonable portion size and lower calorie ingredients. Friends have been asking me for the recipes (they really need to open a store here). So, here you go:

I started with this chicken marinade. But I rarely have red onion in the house so I use one whole white onion, skip the chiles and add 1 tsp of McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning, 1 tsp of Chipotle powder.  I use chicken tenderloins instead of chicken breasts because they're cheaper, grill up faster and you're just going to cut them into bite size pieces so half the work is done for you.

Marinade the chicken for one hour then grill.

In the mean time I make the rice with this recipe.  I double it to have enough for leftovers the next day.

1 can of low sodium black beans, just add a couple tbs of chopped fresh cilantro and heat them through.

1 pkg of low fat, whole wheat tortillas

1 pkg low fat shredded cheese

Fat free Sour Cream


There you go. Assemble as you like. It's not exactly the same, but much better for you and way better than driving 100 miles for it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Evelynn tried peas for the first time tonight.  She wasn't exactly a fan. This video doesn't really do it justice. We had to stop and switch to apple sauce.  Her little face is so expressive though.  It's hard not to laugh sometimes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to all.  Yesterday was a busy day for Evelynn. Not only did she celebrate her first Halloween, but she got to meet her cousins for the first time too.

We got up Halloween morning, got ready and drove to Fayetteville, Arkansas- Home of the University of Arkansas and the Razorbacks. There was a football game and Evelynn's Granddaddy came up for it, so we met him there. My Aunt Jerri and her grandkids came to meet us as well. And we all had a lovely little lunch together. Evelynn made friends with all the girls and Vicki was especially good with her.

Alayna, Kaiti Beth, Vicki and Evelynn

Soon it was time for Granddaddy and Aunt Jerri to go to the game, so we headed for home. We had to get Evelynn dressed! She is often called our little Monkey so it was easy to decide what to dress her as. She didn't seem to mind her costume much and it certainly kept her warm!

We didn't take her trick or treating per se. But we did take her around to visit some of our friends and neighbors. She got to see her buddy, Shooter. He's a month and half or so younger than Evelynn. He was dressed as an elephant and SO cute! I didn't have my camera with me but I'm hoping Shooter's Mommy will send me a picture to share. And we met several other neighborhood babies. One dressed as a little lamb, another as a bumble bee. Evelynn is going to have so many playmates when she gets a little older!

It was a fun Halloween around here. We didn't run out of candy so there are plenty of treats left... not sure if that's a good thing or not. Mike went down to the neighbor's party (in costume dressed as Shrek!) after things started dying down trick or treater wise. But I had just managed to get the little Monkey in bed and had a splitting headache so I stayed in.

Evelynn decided to play some tricks on me this morning waking up at 2:30 and 6:30 and 7:30 and then I realized it was daylight savings time so we got to experience 7:30 all over again. Oh well. I'm hoping for a nap in a little bit. Won't that be a nice treat!? :)