8-Minute Meatloaf

Sunday, June 30, 2013

In an incredible twist of fate/fortune last week, Jonathan was able to pick up both children and I beat them home by 20 minutes. I had a pound of ground turkey in the fridge that needed to be used, and had been told recently that one of Juliette's favorite school meals was meatloaf. So a quick search of the Real Simple website led me to this recipe, which I loosely followed (my M.O., work with whatcha got).

I had this humming in the oven before the chickies got home! Can't ask for anything quicker (besides bake time). I bet if you really pushed yourself, you could have it in the oven in under 8 minutes. I just chose the number 8 because it definitely took less than 10 minutes and seemed really fast.

8-Minute Meatloaf

Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 cup shredded cheese (whatever kind you have)
2 eggs or equivalent of 2 eggs using egg beaters
1 1/2 cups crushed saltines
1/3 cup water
Heinz 57

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, combine the meat, dressing mix, cheese, eggs, and saltines. Add water and combine.
2. Transfer to loaf pan and bake 25 minutes.
3. Remove and drizzle Heinz 57 on the top; return to the oven and bake another 18 minutes.



VOILA!  Sorry no photos...meatloaf doesn't photograph very well, and plus we ate it all!

That Magical 3-Month Mark

Monday, June 24, 2013

Molly turned 3 months back on June 8 (which is now over 2 weeks ago! oops)...I have been meaning to post one of my normal monthly updates with stats, milestones and the like, but there was something more I wanted to bring to this particular post.

I was fortunate to stumble upon this post in the early newborn "bootcamp" days, and I cannot tell you how many times I have thought of these words, and been encouraged by them. So I wanted to share the link with you, whoever you are, that it may bless you as a mom or friend or wherever you are in life. Find "Adjusting to New Life in the Home" here. (And she just in the last few days published an "Addendum" here...especially love the section on "weight loss.")

I'm not Catholic and in no way do I plan on having 10 children or anything... but I have gleaned so much wisdom from her words, and have so appreciated reading this mother's views on new life, spirituality of motherhood and tenderness toward her children. (And I personally do not know many devout Catholic mothers, especially around my age range, so it has been really enlightening learning more about this worldview.) So, all that to say, have a read!

Which brings us to my darling Molly Wolly...that 3 month mark has indeed brought a sense of settledness to our home! This little one has really settled into her personality this past month---easygoing, content, quick to smile. She is just a sweet thing to have around.

June 8, 2013

Her grin makes us all swoony.

And that hair pouf is still going strong. Whenever we get out of the bath, we call her "Baby Flathead," and call out, "say goodnight to Baby Flathead!" because that's the only time we see the shape of her head.

BIG SISSY PHOTOBOMB (contraband paci, of course)

I went back to work this month. And I have had a harder time with it than I thought I would, being the second time around and all. Dummy me, it's now TWO babies to miss, more things to juggle, etc. But, as babies do, they adapt, and Molly is really doing great at "school"---she has nothing but smiles for her teachers, and is never crying when I leave her or pick her up. Her naps are pure junk...30 minutes and things...but she has been mostly sleeping well at night so I can't complain.

This month, she is sleeping from about 7 PM to 4 AM, and then going back to sleep until roughly 7. Unless I fall asleep at that 4 AM feeding, I can be back in my bed within 15 minutes. I have been (don't judge me too much) putting her back in her swing for that last 3ish hour stretch...she still spits up a lot from time to time, and putting her down flat after eating is against my instinct. Though this is no crazy 10-11 hours of someone else we know, this sleeping schedule is pretty doable for the most part. She is slowly inching her way later and later so I haven't felt the need to really do any "training." Also---I don't really know how much she is nursing because of the spit up? We had been mostly doing one side at feedings to try to minimize it (hasn't really worked completely I guess), but she seems content after eating. Because of this, I was nursing her every 2-2.5 hours, or on demand. I was pleased to find out at school (once she adjusted to bottles...took a few days), that she can go 3+ hours between bottles (of about 4 oz). Anyway. IT'S ALL A GUESS for the most part, right???

But back to this grin...

I posted this on every social media outlet everywhere because we just couldn't stand this little face. Jonathan tucked her into Jules' bed and she grinned like she knew exactly how funny it was! Unbelievable.

Big Sissy is learning how to be "gentle" with her...it's a constant vigil we keep when the two are in close proximity. But Juliette really does love Molly I think, and especially loves to go in the nursery with me when she's waking up. It's the cutest thing. We've even heard a couple of giggles out of her (but not too many yet).

She went to size 2 diapers the week we started "school" (May 28ish), and is wearing 3-6 month clothes mostly. I'm not sure how much she weighs, but she still looks so loooong, yet not quite as filled out as I remember Jules being.

Now that we're on a more regular schedule because of school, we're on 5 feedings/day total (2 of them nursing), plus the nighttime one. As much as I miss her, I like that this work schedule forces everyone to adopt more of a schedule.

Taking this one places is a breeze! She is so content all the time. It is absolutely delightful!

Molly dearest, we love you to the moon and back, my precious one. We cannot imagine our family without you!


one month
two months

Jules at 3 months

This Is My Dad For You

Monday, June 17, 2013

My dad always has a new trick up his sleeve. I swear...every time I think I've seen all his tricks, he comes out with something else. Here's the latest.

I'm not sure when this whole thing started, but it's been a month or two. There's this picture of me as a baby, I think I'm around 16-17 months...well, here it is.

(the picture itself is sort of blurry, our version isn't out of focus)

So my dad got on this kick of wanting to recreate it with Juliette. The man went into a Carter's store BY HIMSELF. Anyone who has met my dad probably just got a good chuckle out of that mental picture. Mr. Businessman going into a Carter's store, alone! Hilarious. The lady working actually asked him what he was doing in there. I wish I had been a fly on the wall for that exchange...

He procured some yellow shorts in that outing, but was really having a hard time finding striped polo shirts for girls. He kept saying, "I can't believe they don't make things like this for girls anymore!" We kept reminding him, Dad, it's not 1985 anymore...

They found a shirt finally, from Land's End (even got her initials put on it!), and a pair of new Keds later we were ready. The photo shoot was yesterday, (fittingly) on Father's Day.

Look at this girl!


My busy-busy-busy (this is an understatement) girl was adorably/surprisingly amenable to this process, just as her Deeda (grandad) knew she would be! I am having a hard time not posting about 10 more from this session...



Here's the side-by-side comparison (Leslie Taylor left, Juliette Taylor right):


There's a 6 month or so age difference between us, but I think it's still pretty close.

Thanks, Dad, for keeping us all on our toes! I will certainly treasure these photos of my faux-80s baby.

Happy Father's Day to my daddy, Juliette's (WONDERFUL!) daddy, my father-in-law, our grandads, and all the sweet men in our lives who have invested themselves in us, making us the people we are today.

Back on the Wagon and It Feels So Good

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm in week 2 of the wonderful Couch to 5K program and I'm really loving it!



Before Juliette was born, I set the goal of running a 5K when she was 4 months old, and Couch to 5K helped me accomplish it.

I don't have a specific race planned this time, but I am loving the feeling of being outside, all by my lonesome, and enjoying the soupy summer Memphis air with some tunes. I generally hate summer, but it is admittedly nice to have extended daylight after little babies are in bed, perfect for solo Mommy exercise. I look forward to getting my running endurance back.

We also bought a kettlebell and I've been using it some (though of course I need to do it more regularly).

This stuff combined with weight watchers will hopefully get me back to where I want to be, a little more quickly than postpartum round 1. (That weight watchers app is pretty awesome, it's true.)

What have yall been doing recently to get in shape?


p.s. Next thing on my agenda we've been procrastinating? Potty training.

On Blogging, As a Parent

Monday, June 10, 2013

In general, I think I do a fairly good job of not over-sharing really personal things about my children on social media platforms. I do/did monthly updates on their developmental stuff, and have shared a few funny stories and milestones, but I try to keep the really personal stuff for my personal relationships.

Recently, and in this phase of life where lots of my peers also have young children, I have become increasingly struck by how MUCH is shared of our children on the world wide web (yes, that's world-wide), free for anyone on the planet to read. And all before they are old enough to have any say in it!

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say except I want to be a good steward of our family's history while protecting my children before they can protect themselves. I love that I can write things on this blog and access them from any internet device for all eternity. It's a great way to update family and friends about what's going on, and of course a great way to record things and help [those of us with a terrible memory] remember. But, as my husband constantly reminds me, you never know who's reading. I definitely try to be conscious of this while writing my posts...but am I being conscious enough?

Another point to consider is this: this family content I speak of... the personal stories and parenting stuff... THIS is the stuff I absolutely love to read on the internet right now! Without the internet, I wouldn't have learned about the 2-3-4 sleeping technique, or homemade baby food recipes, potty training (when the time comes), or my-kid's-not-the-only-one-who-does-this flavor of the day. So is it fair that I'm devouring something I'm not willing to put forth? (Obviously yes, yes it is, because it's the free-world internet, people can do what they choose.)

I think it's natural and right for a mother to want to share about the biggest thing going in her life right now---her beautiful babies... but I am challenging myself to proceed with caution. In 15 years, will my girls look back at this blog and read the stories I've curated of their early years with dread/annoyance or appreciation? I sure hope it's the former. I'm not saying I want to hang up shop here (or go private), but I do want to be mindful of their best interest, while producing meaningful content (if only meaningful for me).

What about yall? Do you feel you have a pretty good grasp on where the "line" is?


Further reading on the subject, here.


p.s. Can I tell you that my firstborn is 22 months old today, and can we mourn the fact that this really means there's only one more day after today when I can say she's x number of months, and not just "2" or whatever?

An Updated Nursery for Baby Sister

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Hello!

Girls Rooms

Welcome to Molly's room! Formerly Juliette's nursery (find tour from way back when here).

Girls Rooms

When we found out we were having another girl, I was thrilled to be able to use the same bedding, curtains, everything...and I was excited to decorate a big girl room, but I did want to make a few tweaks to the nursery just for little Molly.

You may notice first that we swapped the crib and dresser spots. This served two purposes, to make the room feel fresh for baby, but also to help Juliette during the big-girl-bed/new room transition, so she wouldn't feel like her exact very room was just sitting next door waiting for her.

Definitely not tired of the family tree wall yet, and knowing we'd take the Romeo & Juliet quote into Juliette's new room, I had seen this big M at Anthropologie, and Martha and Mandi were sweet enough to get it for me as a baby gift. Isn't it perfect here?

Girls Rooms

(Don't worry, I know that when Molly starts pulling up we will have to do something different here for safety reasons.)

Here's the little sweetie snoozing away while I took these photos (I took them back in April, she already looks so different than this!)... Daddy wasn't available for photos, apologies they aren't as good as his.

Girls Rooms

Here's the door sign from the hospital, hanging on the bathroom door that adjoins to our room. My sister did it, and I am obsessed!

Girls Rooms

I have actually really loved the dresser in its new spot. It's so nice to look out the window when I'm changing Molly's diaper. She also LOVES hanging out up here and getting some sunlight. We have had some painfully adorable cooing sessions here lately.  :)

Girls Rooms

That wonderful quilt was made by my dearest friend Erin. Isn't it beautiful? I still pinch myself that she made that and then parted with it, for little Molls! And the embroidered pillow was done before Juliette was born, by my dear Granny.

Here's the bookshelf, a little more lived-in than the last tour showed, hee hee. And with the artwork changed up! I am OBSESSED with the deer piece Andrea Ballenger gifted us.

Girls Rooms

She got the inspiration from a vintage coloring book, I believe. It is beyond perfect! And the little Molly puzzle was passed down from our adult friend Molly. So sweet!

Girls Rooms
(sorry this one's a little blurry)

One more thing for little Molly by the door, another piece by Andrea. This is the original I used for her birth announcement artwork. (gah, I need to paint that frame)

Girls Rooms

And that does it! It was fun to make just a few small changes that helped the room feel a little new. I am glad I put in so much effort decorating it the first time, because I love spending time in here as much as ever, especially with its new inhabitant.

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