Thursday, April 30, 2015

Lasagna and a Move

Yesterday I carved some time out of Marshall's naps to make lasagna. I used this recipe from AllRecipes, which we've made before (Terry made it a few years ago and says it's his proudest kitchen accomplishment so far, but I think he's made some chili renditions that certainly rival it). Anyway, it's definitely a fair amount of work, but I split it up:
 - during Marshall's first nap, I browned the beef and sausage with the onion and got the sauce simmering, plus I sliced the mozzarella
 - during his second nap, I soaked the noodles (instead of boiling the noodles, which can make them soggy in the final product, I soak them in hot water from the tap for about 20 minutes, which keeps them al dente)
 - after Marshall woke up, I had him hang out in his high chair near the kitchen while I assembled the lasagna (he didn't mind taste testing for me), and then I threw it in the oven

It came out all bubbly and perfectly browned on top, and I basked in its glory for a moment.

Marshall ate THREE servings, which was probably about 3/4 of how much I ate. That kid can EAT. We're still learning his hungry/full cues, because we're a little worried that he enjoys the act of eating so much that he won't stop if we keep giving him food. But at least we know he likes lasagna!

This week has been back to normal for the most part. Marshall and I went to My Gym (we had skipped two weeks because he was sick), and Terry even joined during his lunch hour!

Today after a busy morning, we headed out for a walk in a new area we haven't really explored, and Terry met us for lunch. I even jogged a little which turned out to be a good idea, because I somehow ended up with a frozen custard after lunch. As Joey says, "I'm not even sorry."

And finally, on Monday night I alluded to the fact that Marshall's routine is about to get disrupted. My friends all had their guesses about what I meant (okay, so two people casually asked about it), but the big news is...

We're moving!


It's all happening super quickly. (By the way, is that ever not the case? I mean, has anyone ever decided to move and then slowly proceeded to find a new place, without having to rush any step of the process? It's always just insanity, right?) So anyway, our situation is no different. We were very casually looking for apartments (and even considering buying a place) for a few weeks, and on Saturday I spotted a promising-looking place online. We booked an appointment to see the apartment on Sunday and ended up signing a lease on Monday. Talk about a crazy day!

Luckily, while the getting process felt insane, we now have a bit more time than we have for previous moves. Still, the next few weeks will be busy: Packing with an almost-one-year-old will have challenges we've never dealt with before (though I'm pretty convinced it'll be easier than moving at 30 weeks pregnant!). We've started loading up boxes, and I've been asking friends with babies who've moved for advice. As usual, Scout is thrilled with all the boxes, and Marshall seems oblivious so far. He's helped pack by dropping toys into empty boxes and/or handing them to me.

As for our new place, it does meet our most important must-have: a washer and dryer! In fact, there's an entire laundry room. I never dreamed we'd have our very own! (Well, to rent...but still.) We'll have a good amount of space, the location is super walkable, there's tons of natural light, and the place is full of fun character. We're excited about it, and we think Marshall will enjoy it, too!

And since it's just about Friday, some randomness for you:

This video about upstairs neighbors perfectly captures the essence of apartment living. Terry and I have spent years guessing what our neighbors are up to!

I have several weird pet peeves in the kitchen:

  • If the inside of my dish gloves get water in them. WORST feeling ever.
  • I hate crumbling sausage and chopping garlic. 
  • I really don't like being barefoot in the kitchen. I always end up stepping on crumbs or oil or water (and I'm pretty sure my kitchen floors aren't that gross) and it just makes me want to stop cooking and clean the floors. It's best if I wear socks or slippers.
  • I use as few dishes as possible, which often leads to more of a mess and hassle than just doing an extra dish now and then, so I guess in this case my pet peeve is myself.

Mother's Day is around the corner! Terry already told me I can sleep in that day, and I almost cried thinking about it, but then I got worried I'd be too excited to sleep. I'll probably be up by 6. Other ideas:
  • Make your mom breakfast, brunch, or any other meal. If your presence in the kitchen will stress her out, make a reservation to go to a restaurant.
  • Personalized necklaces and bracelets are super cute (check on Etsy). I got a "Marshall" necklace as a gift with his birth date and wear it all the time.
  • Take your mom somewhere special. I would enjoy going for a hike, going on a picnic, or going anywhere Marshall would enjoy, like the aquarium or the beach or the zoo (or Whole Foods, because he would enjoy that just as much).

This video of dogs annoying cats with their friendship reminds me of Marshall annoying Scout with his friendship.

Chipotle went GMO-free! Of course, there are always critics, but I think Chipotle has its head in the right place. (Let's just all be clear that GMO-free doesn't mean "healthy," and fast food should of course be enjoyed in moderation. Still, I'd argue that Chipotle is a much better option than a lot of other places out there.) By the way, Marshall and I celebrated this milestone with a little lunch there this week!

What's your favorite fast food option?

What are your kitchen pet peeves?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Marshall: Eleven Months

Happy 11 Months, Marshall!

(I can't believe the next update will be ONE YEAR.)

Once again, no doctor appointment this month to find out your stats, but you are definitely growing taller and taller and taller. I'm less convinced that you're putting on weight--you've become a lean green bean! Looks like you'll take after your daddy, who was tall and skinny as a kid! You wear mostly 18-month clothes now, and you are bigger than all the kids in your My Gym class, even though half of them are older than you.

Firsts this month: drinking from a straw (we skipped sippy cups altogether), throwing and "catching" for your first game of catch, your fourth and fifth teeth, your first Easter (we celebrated with family in Orange County), your first boat ride out to Catalina, and climbing stairs.

The two big developments this month were pointing and handing objects to people. You point at everything and everyone, almost like a reflex. You often point and then look in another direction, which is hilarious. We usually have no idea what you're pointing at, but you sure like doing it! You also often say, "Ooh! Ooh!" when you point, which adds some intrigue.

A few weeks ago you learned to hand an object to someone, and I've never seen you so proud. Although you also stopped throwing (after only a few days) in favor of giving things to people. It's pretty adorable, though. Your favorite game is picking up Scout's toy, giving it to me or Daddy, having us throw it, crawling over to get it, and starting over again. It's my favorite new game, too.

On the ferry to Catalina!

You are doing okay with sleep, but you were sick for a while during this month. You spent a few weeks sleeping all the way through the night (ahhh...heaven), and then you went back to a few wake ups per night, and now you're lingering at one wake up. Naps got better, though! Now you sleep at least an hour per nap, which is a huge improvement from previous battles to get you down for a measly 20 minutes. Good job, buddy!

Need we even talk about food? You love it, you eat it all, you complain if you're in your high chair without food, and restaurants are no fun because you become a whiny, angry elf when you're done eating. You're still nursing, too; as of your 11-month birthday, you nursed once in the morning, once after each nap, once before bed, and maybe in the middle of the night if you're hungry (so 4-5 times per day). In your next post I'll talk a little bit about weaning, because we just dropped one of the day feedings and it seems to be going okay so far.

You're a speedy little crawler, and you're super confident in standing now. You'll pull yourself up even on unsteady supports, but still no interest in letting go or taking steps. You babble a TON--dadadada, mamamama, wowowowow, babababa, oh oh oh. No real words or connections to people/objects though. You do know some words, though: cat, dog, daddy, mommy, Scout, ball, throw, kiss, and "more". I don't think I've ever mentioned it before but you love sneezing because you love how we say "bless you!" You smile after every sneeze, including ours!

You started this new smile where you scrunch your face up. Just when we thought you couldn't get any cuter.

You love: being held, sneezing, going to My Gym, crawling, "playing with" Scout, pointing, looking at ceiling fans, eating, reading (especially books with flaps), being tickled or wrestling, climbing all over us, standing, holding objects while crawling, finding the one thing in the room I wish you wouldn't play with, playing hide and seek (well, we do the hiding, but you love finding us!), being outside, being in grocery carts, doing anything new, and pushing your own stroller (you can reach standing up, but you love being held while holding the handles).

You dislike: sitting still for extended periods, being in the car for a long time, waking up from a nap in the car, going down for naps, not eating, being tired, being told "no," being left alone if you aren't in the right mood.

We are so thrilled to watch you grow and learn every day, Marshall. Thank you for the joy you bring to our family! We love you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jacarandas in Bloom

Hello to the last week of April! Crazy, right? I love this time of year, mostly because the jacarandas are in bloom. My favorites!

Marshall is ready for summer already; he chowed down on his first corn on the cob the other day! (We were at an event for Terry's work, and one of the attendees said we should charge admission for watching Marshall eat. I agree; it's that hilarious. This kid goes to town around food!)

Speaking of food, we finally tried Bachi Burger! The really famous one is in Vegas, but they opened one in Pasadena and another in West LA. It was good! The menu has a lot of Asian-inspired flavors and some unique combinations of meat.

In other recent events...

These two are finding more and more common ground as far as entertainment goes.

Today, for example, one of Scout's toys rolled under Marshall's Exersaucer, and they both helped look for it.

 Terry found this cute Superman outfit in Marshall's closet, and it fits the little guy now. When I met up with them in the store, I noticed Terry had draped the cape over the back of the cart seat. Gotta make sure everyone knows who they're dealing with here!

(Sunday morning shopping trips are the best. Quiet stores, empty aisles, tons of parking spaces. Ideal for shopping with a baby!)

Super intimidating, Superman.

I am not really a fan of herbal tea. I want to be, but I find the flavors too strong or too floral or too something. But then I found Peet's Lemon Rose tea. It's so good! No need to add any sweetener, either. Light, gently floral but mostly lemony, and perfect for a sore throat or to just relax at the end of the day. I finally bought a box of tea bags to have at home (and did you know that you get a free coffee or tea if you buy a box of tea bags?!).

Yesterday Jenn and I met up for a girls' lunch at True Food Kitchen. She had the lasagna (we couldn't figure out how the noodles were gluten-free, but they're definitely spinach with something) and I had the inside-out quinoa "burger" because it looked so good when Katie ordered it at lunch a few months ago. Delicious! I highly recommend both meals. Plus it was wonderful to catch up with Jenn. My awesome husband took over Marshall duties and hung out on Third Street while we had lunch; he and Marshall have been getting a lot of father-son time lately!

Tomorrow we're heading to My Gym for the first time in two weeks, since Marshall is finally not showing cold symptoms. I'm actually really excited to go back to our normal routine, even though it's about to get disrupted big time. More on that later!

Hope you have a fantastic start to your week!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I realize Fridays probably shouldn't seem as exciting for me since I stay home with Marshall, but I still love them. There's always the excited buzz in the air; Terry is often home on Fridays; and the weekend (family time!) is just around the corner.

This weekend promises more birthday celebrating around here, plus some girl time for me. Otherwise, we're all still trying to get back to 100% healthy, so sleep and fresh air are the focus. For now, some Friday favorites!

Birthday Celebrations. Terry's small celebration with the three of us turned out...well enough. Last year, we went to Terranea to take advantage of their free surf and turf on your birthday. It was a delicious meal and an amazing deal. So this year we decided to do the same and booked a table at 5:30 so the little guy could join us before bedtime. Except that after we arrived and sat down, we realized...the deal is no longer offered. It's just a normal ol' (expensive) restaurant. Oops. Still, we enjoyed our meal and Marshall did really well, so luckily the birthday wasn't a disaster or anything. Note to self: Research birthday deals ahead of time!

(The guy who took our photo said, "The baby looks how I feel." To which Terry responded--later, when the guy was gone--" hate your life?")

Our Growing Boy! Marshall turned 11 months old today! WHAAAAT?! I'll write up his usual monthly update post next week, but I can't believe we're so close to a year. Just today I found this photo on my phone and took a comparison shot:

There's such an obvious difference in height, but also in his confidence and comfort standing. In the first photo he's clinging to that stool and not really on top of his feet. Now he's relaxed, barely holding on, able to twist and bend and turn while standing. Crazy! (Plus, he's wearing raccoons on top and a moose on bottom, so the second photo is much more creative.)

San Diego. Terry and I have been traveling to San Diego for pleasure for years, but in recent years Terry started driving down for work a few days at a time. When Marshall was born and I quit working, we were able to join Terry for his trips, and San Diego became a really pleasant place to visit for me. I think San Diego is beautiful, I love the fresh air, and we've discovered tons of delicious restaurants. This week, Terry completed the project he has been part of for the last six years(!!!), and the trips to San Diego for business are officially over. I could not be more proud of my husband and his team, and even though I'll miss the chance to get away in the middle of the week like that, I'm thrilled for whatever comes next for Terry at work!

This time around, we stopped off at Cafe 21, one of our favorite places, for lunch. I had one of their amazing cast iron omelets, and Terry went with the short rib sandwich. Plus, I got some loose-leaf Irish Breakfast tea, which was phenomenal. 

Pinhole Press. Terry and I have been slowly piecing together some ideas for Marshall's first birthday. We're keeping it very low key, but I think themes are super fun, so we're doing TRAINS! I'll be sure to share everything after the fact, but I wanted to share this awesome first birthday gift we're getting Marshall from Pinhole Press: a book of favorites! I read about it on A Cup of Jo, and Marshall loves looking at all our framed photos around the house, so I figure it'll be perfect for his birthday. We added photos of all Marshall's close extended family (grandparents, uncles, aunt), plus me and Terry and Scout and some familiar objects. I'm ordering it tomorrow! (P.S. A Cup of Jo has a discount code good through Sunday, 4/26!)

Other than that, I'm really not sure how the little birthday celebration will come together. I wish I was more into crafts and fun details. I love admiring them at other people's parties (my friend Katie did such a great job at her little girl's birthday party recently!), but I find that for me when I try to do something creative it a) doesn't turn out the way I hoped; b) costs more than just buying something simple; and/or c) ends up going unnoticed/unappreciated/unused. I have one or two fun things I want to try for Marshall's party, so hopefully they won't backfire.

As mentioned, the major goal of the weekend is to get healthy, so I'm off to bed! Hope you have a wonderful weekend planned. Here are some fun links if you need them:

I loved this hilarious sketch from Amy Schumer. Apparently everyone knows who she is (except me, until yesterday), and she is hilarious.

It's National Infertility Awareness Week! This post from Brittany helped me learn a little more about the topic.

You know I love all things Ina. Here's an interview on her best dinner party advice.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

That Mushy Birthday Post I Promised

Terry's 29th year is done, and I'd say he did it with grace, style, and class. That guy really knows how to make a girl proud.

This year was one of the most difficult we have faced--new baby, demanding work schedule, very little sleep or time to relax--and Terry truly took it all in stride. We moved into our new apartment right before Terry's last birthday, and he just about doubled his commute time to work, the first of many sacrifices he made for our family this year.

Marshall came along about a month later, and Terry stepped into his role as a new dad as though he'd been doing it his whole life. Somehow, he just knew how to be a father--and a fantastic one. He supported me as a panicked, weepy mother while I looked to him for help with everything from breastfeeding ("Does his latch look okay?!" "Can you bring me more water?" "Will you bring me ________?") to midnight diaper changes. He made it look easy and taught me lessons on patience through his calm demeanor with Marshall.

As we settled into parenting, Terry went back to work, and suddenly his project picked up. He had to work longer hours, bring work home, travel to take care of his part of the project--all while helping around the house, putting 100% into his time with Marshall in the evenings, and making sure we had time together. I whined about his work nonstop, but he (almost) never complained.

Juggling an intense year of work plus being a new parent hasn't been easy, but Terry makes it seem like he was born to fulfill both roles. I admire his work ethic and his willingness to put himself second (or third, or fourth) every day.

Terry, thank you for being such a fantastic dad and a sweet pet owner to Scout. Thank you for working so hard for our family, especially this year. And thank you for being the greatest husband; I am truly so lucky!

(Styling by Terry)

(In the middle of one of those looooooong nights)

Happy birthday!!!