Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mom Purse

My newest love is what I fondly call my new Mom Purse.  I've been wanting to retire M's diaper bag for awhile now and what better way to do that than by paying a visit to my local Coach Outlet and upgrading to a more "Mom sized" purse.  Without further adieu, I now present you with my new side kick from the Ashley line at Coach: 
I must admit that I am not a fan of large purses. I don't have that much in my purse and it's awkward for me to carry them around. My biggest pet peeve with purses is when they slip off my shoulder because the straps aren't big enough (I am not a clutch girl at all). This purse is perfect as it comes with a removable shoulder strap or I can use the smaller straps which also fit over my shoulder.  The smell of the leather on this bag is so intoxicating and it is silky smooth.

My favorite part of this purse is the inside.  I love the color purple, but I wanted a more neutral purse that would hopefully last more than one season.  When I looked inside this one and saw the purple I think it called out, "Buy me! Buy me!".  Even M's eyes lit up when I showed it to her.  Ok, maybe that was just because she saw me and wanted me to pick her up, but the girl likes purse shopping.  I swear!  There are two zippered compartments and two larger pockets that close with magnets allowing any mom easy access to the contents inside be they wallet or cheerios.  It also has two pockets on one side 1) for my celly and 2) for M's sippy cup.  Could it be anymore perfect?!
You will find no buyer's remorse here!  The shoulder straps have been working great and while it is still a bit awkward for me to carry a larger bag around everyday, it's still a million times better than lugging a purse and a diaper bag.  I have two diapers, travel wipes, a couple bibs, toddler snacks (yogurt melts, cheerios, cereal bar, and mini fig newtons), a small tube of diaper cream, and travel size baby powder inside in addition to my usual essentials and there's still plenty of room to spare.  I hope to buy a Diaper Pod (perhaps a Ju Ju Be??) soon to actually put my diaper changing supplies in that can easily slip in and out of my new Mom Purse.  I puffy heart the Coach Outlet store and the extra 30% off I scored on this awesome bag. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Personal Chef Mommy At Your Service

I am not only a girlfriend, woman, wife, and mommy, I am now a Personal Chef as well.  Having tasted the nastiness that is jarred baby food during a baby shower game at A.R. and my co-ed baby shower what seems like eons ago, we were both on board to make all of M's baby food.  (Yes, this post is long past due and I have since lost the photos I had taken to post with it sans a broken hard drive and M isn't even eating purees anymore, but I digress.)  I especially wanted to aspire to make anything that involved meat for her myself as the jarred baby food with meat in it is just horrendous and I wanted her first meats to be organic, free-range, hormone free meats.
Baby food babyshower game- See the closed eyes?! Grossness.
Making baby food doesn't require any special tools or gadgets (aka a pricey Beaba) besides what you probably already have in your kitchen.  All you need are some ice cube trays that have covers, a decent blender, and a way to steam or bake veggies and fruits (a steamer, oven, or microwave are sufficient).  I happened to have a Cuisinart blender/food processor that we got as a wedding gift that I finally was able to put to use.  I actually found that some of the veggies (the less water based ones like potatoes and pumpkin that I baked) pureed better in the blender rather than the food processor attachment.  All of the watery fruits and veggies (apples, pears, peaches, squash, etc.) that I steamed were a sinch to puree in the food processor attachment (once I figured out how to assemble the darned thing).  I used the website http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/ as one of my guides in addtion to this book my sister-in-law bought me for my first Mother's Day:
After pureeing the foods (meats, fruits, and veggies), I poured them into the ice cube trays, covered, and froze.  You can even mix and match the purees before freezing to accomplish the same thing the baby food companies do with mixed purees- just be sure to try the foods solo first to make sure your little one doesn't have any allergies to either of them.  Once they were frozen, I popped out the food cubes and stored them in gallon sized freezer bags labeled with the food name and date made.  Kept frozen, these cubes last several months in the freezer.  It was so easy to puree up a vegetable or fruit or both while I cooked our dinner at night.  I'd steam or bake the foods I was preparing, allow them to cool while I played with M, and then either A.R. or I would puree and package while the other began M's nighttime bath and bed ritual.  Yes, folks!  A.R. even got involved and helped make a good portion of her food.  I think having tasted the jarred food himself he wanted to be sure we never got lazy enough that M ended up having to eat it.

On of the main challenges I ran into was over the winter when a lot of the fruits I wanted to work into her diet weren't available in New England.  When this happend, I did buy her organic baby food.  Some of it was made by Gerber (I made sure the labels just listed fruit, water, and maybe some absorbic acid- Vitamin C) until I discovered the Ella's Kitchen and Plum brands that come in squeezable pouches.  They are super easy when you're on the go because you don't even need a spoon!  You can squeeze directly into your baby's mouth and a lot of the fruit purees even include some disguised veggies.  One thing I did find was M NEVER would eat any puree that contained banana in it.  Having tasted a few of them, I tend to agree with her taste buds.  Pureed packaged banana just doesn't taste the same as the real thing.  I had to be careful to not buy any purees that had banana in it (not an easy feat if you've ever perused the baby food aisles and noticed the options).  I rarely buy pureed fruits anymore with Spring looming and M devouring table food now, but I keep a pouch of Ella's Kitchen food in her diaper bag at all times just in case we need a snack on the fly if I'm out longer than expected.

Another challenge we faced was the meats we pureed drying out from being frozen.  Our trick to solving this issue was to just add a little water to the dish I used to reheat the meats in the microwave.  Once we did that we had no issues and M would chow down.  I found that the meats did best when boiled or baked as they tended to lose less juices that way and stayed tender.  For red meat, we made mini meatballs for her and then grilled them until just brown and didn't cook through until reheated from the freezer.  We never had problems with fruits and veggies being reheated in the microwave.  Just be sure to stir well and check the temperature on your lips before feeding to baby in case there are any hot spots in the food.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

She's A Walkin' Girl

Just shy of 13 months old, M started walking on her own today!  I found out when A.R. emailed me to say that his brother had called and told him she walked from couch to television while at my mother-in-law's house this morning.  (My mother-in-law watches M while we're at work and my brother-in-law has been helping her out while my father-in-law is in Puerto Rico.  She also watches two of my nephews everyday and occasionally my eldest nephew who is out of school this week.)  I actually instantly proved that I am a cheesy mom by proceeding to tear up at my desk at work as I told my closest coworker 1) because I was so proud and 2) because it killed me that I was at work and missed it.  It's missing milestones like this that make me HATE being a working mother.  I should be there to cheer her on and see her stick her tiny arms out straight in front of her and take those first wobbly steps.  Instead, I was dealing with yet another accounting system bug at work and answering another broker inquiry.

To further rub it in (not intentionally) that we were absentee parents, my mother-in-law called A.R. later in the afternoon to say that after her morning nap, M walked a few more times from couch to chair to television and back again completely unassisted and not coaxed in any way.  Of course there was no video proof, so I say it didn't happen until A.R. and I say it did! :)  My mother-in-law was just as proud of M as we were, so she just wanted to share it with us as it happened which I think is sweet.  As soon as I got to her house this evening she told me M had walked and I think her smile was bigger than M's. Such a proud Abuela to see her first granddaughter take her first steps on her own without being coaxed at all.  I am so thankful (and blessed) that M gets to spend her time away from me with family and someone who I know loves her just as much as I do.  The free Spanish lessons she gets everyday are an awesome bonus, too. :P

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The second book in my book club was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  The first thing I noticed was that it was almost 650 pages!!  For a working mom that doesn't have a lot of free time to begin with that was pretty intimidating.  I did jump right into reading and definitely liked the idea of the storyline; however, the author used a lot of detail including adding a lot of historical data so at times I found myself getting lost.  It was like I was back in my high school history class with my teacher speaking "Muh, muh, muh" ala Charlie Brown's teacher. :)  Everytime I sat down to read, I'd end up falling asleep.  I don't do good with a lot of historical data/facts/and figures, but I did grow quite fond of the main characters, Claire and Jamie. 

I actually sat down and read the first 300 pages and then I just couldn't keep going (I'd taken way too many naps!), so I skimmed the last 350 pages.  Throughout the 300 pages I did read, I did like the storyline, but there was a bit too much detail.  I had a few favorite characters along the way including Claire, Jamie, Mrs. Graham, and the women who first helped dress Claire at Castle Leoch (her name escapes me now).  Maybe, I liked Claire because that was my maiden middle name?  Nah, I liked her personality that came through the author's writing, her nature, and demeanor.  And I'm sorry, but everything about Jamie in the book just screams HOTTIE!  I loved the idea of Jamie and Claire together and how fitting that she chose to stay with him rather can go back to her "normal" time and Frank.  I loved how the author ended the storyline with Claire being pregnant, too.

Once my book club goes through our list of books, I would consider reading the second book in the series, but I believe I'd listen to it on disc.  An online friend of mine said that Jamie's accent on the CDs is hot. :P  Hearing a hot accent might help the 600 page second book be a bit more bearable if it has just as much detail as the first novel.

Next month's book is: Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
I'm totally bummed that Chris was at my local library (not 5 minutes from my house!) this past Wednesday, but I couldn't make it as I had to play Dr. Mom and wife to M and A.R.  :(

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Great Cake (#1)

Have you ever been so proud you just can't stop smiling or maybe even gloating a little bit?  Well, that was me when it came to my first attempt at making an entire cake with fondant decor from scratch for M's first birthday party.  I had some serious doubters (including A.R!) that didn't think I could actually pull it off with everything else on my plate (including getting a house ready for 50+ party guests and a few out-of-town over night guests) and not end up with an emergency cake sans our local grocery store.  Well, to all you haters...I DID IT and if I do say so myself, it turned out darned good!  Perhaps, it turned out even a bit better than I, myself, thought it would.  I will never admit that, though!
I have posted my two practice attempts here and here, but the final attempt was a bit scary as I hadn't practiced dying fondant black or making actual fondant cut-outs in the shapes that I would be using come party day (Minnie Mouse ears, heads, and bows).  The whole process from start to finish took maybe 5 hours, but I spread it out over a couple of days to make it easier.  Plus, the fondant had to sit at least overnight in the fridge after I made it to make it more manageable to roll out and place on the cakes.  I also owe a HUGE thank you to my cake expert friends (Brie, Karen, the Wilton website, and to a fellow anonymous blogger who I can't seem to find anymore).

Step 1: Making the Fondant
I made the fondant for the cake by hand on a Tuesday night (her party was on Saturday), but I could've even done it the week before and it would've kept fine in the fridge.  I made one and a half batches of Rolled Marshmellow Fondant.  I split the fondant in three separate bowls.  The first bowl, I had about 1/4 of the fondant and I dyed it black.  To get a true black, I altered the marshmellow fondant recipe above by adding half cocoa/half confectioner's sugar instead of all sugar and I used a black food dye gel.  Be forewarned that the black dye will get in your finger nails and cuticles (even if well coated with Crisco!), so if that bothers you consider wearing gloves while working the cocoa and sugar into the fondant.  My fingers had smudges of black for a day or two afterwards, but it wasn't too bad and definitely wasn't noticed by others.  The recipe doesn't call for an exact amount of the dye to use, so I put about a  1/2 tsp (via toothpick) in with just the melted marshmellows prior to mixing the sugar and cocoa in.  Then, as I kneaded the remaining sugar and cocoa to get the desired consistency, I added a smidgen more (using a toothpick) and kneaded it in some more. 
I then split the remaining melted marshmellow evenly and left one as is (white) and just added confectioners sugar until I got the desired consistency per the recipe and the second batch I dyed pink.  I used red food gel (instead of the pastel pink gel you can buy) to get the pink I desired mixing it directly in the melted marshmellow first before adding in the confectioners sugar.  Once you make the fondant once and see how easy and relatively quick it is, you'll never buy it again!  It's also MUCH cheaper and tastes better than store bought fondant.  Before storing the fondant in the fridge, I coated with Crisco and wrapped in plastic wrap.
On Thursday evening, I made the fondant cut-outs for the cake.  In the morning, I took the fondant out of the fridge to warm to room temperature (just the black and the pink) and I finally had a chance to work with it that evening.  It was actually relatively quick to roll it out thin enough and use cookie cutters to cut with.  I cut out black circles for Minnie's head and ears making sure that I had extra just in case they should be needed and I cut out 1" x 1/4" strips out of the pink for Minnie's bows for the bottom tier.  I then rolled out the black fondant to be almost a 1/2" thick and used a tuna can (I kid you not!) to guage the size of the ears and make an indent in the fondant that I could cut around.  Once the large ears were cut, I inserted two toothpicks into each ear about an inch at an angle leaving the rest of the toothpick exposed so that I could use them to place the ears on the top of the finished cake.  I then stored all the cut-outs I made in tupperware containers on my counter until party day.  Making and dying the fondant took an hour and making the cut-outs took a half hour.
Step 2: Making the cakes
I made the cakes for the two tiers from scratch using the Butter Cake recipe from Wilton with only one minor change- I omitted the almond extract and added an additional teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Mixing the cake batter was quick and easy with my KitchenAid mixer, but I didn't plan well with the ingredients and ran out of butter.  I ended up sending A.R. to the grocery store to pick up more as I was one batch of batter short.  To make all the cakes that I did, I had to triple the recipe.  I only anticipated having to double it.  I baked the cakes in 6", 8", and 10" pans.  The 6" cake was just for M to play with the other two cakes were for her formal cake.  I had to increase the oven temp to 375 (convection oven) and it still took a good 30-40 minutes for each size cake to cook except for the smaller 6" cakes.

Step 3: Icing and Filling
I made Strawberry Cream filling from Wilton's website only I didn't buy pre-sweetened strawberries (couldn't find them at my local grocer), so I sweetened the strawberry mixture myself with regular sugar as I simmered them.  I also didn't trust that the strawberries wouldn't be too lumpy in the filling after they were simmered, so I pureed the whole mixture.  Bakers should note, that the mixture will still look pretty runny after it's done cooking, but once you chill it in the fridge it WILL stiffen up.  I added extra cornstarch as I was afraid that the filling was too runny, but I really didn't need it.

Next, I made buttercream icing from Wilton's website and it was yummy...a lot better than other buttecreams I've tasted in the past.  I just flavored mine with a little vanilla extract.  To start stacking the cakes, I first used a serrated knife to level them and then I piped buttercream frosting around the edges of the layers before adding in the filling.   Then, I added the filling and stacked another cake layer on top.  Each tier consisted of three layers of cake.  For additional stability I inserted plastic straws into the bottom tier where the upper tier would sit and I also inserted a few straws in the upper tier as the layers were sliding a bit due to the filling.
Last, I coated each cake with buttercream frosting and then covered with fondant.  The 6" cake I just covered in buttercream as I didn't want M to have to work through the fondant to get to the good cake part inside.  I dyed that buttercream pink to match her Minnie Mouse theme.  Minus the extra grocery store run the whole cake baking/icing making/filling cooking time took about 3 1/2 hours.  I multi-tasked on most of this- simmering the filling and mixing the buttercream icing while the cakes baked.  I also took the fondant out of the fridge earlier in the day to warm to room temperature before placing on the cakes.
Step 4: Ta-DA!!!
Once each cake was covered in fondant, I stored in the fridge uncovered until party day.  I made the cakes and covered in fondant on Thursday as I wanted to do nothing but enjoy Miss M on her actual birthday (Friday).  On Saturday morning when I woke up I took the cakes out of the fridge to warm to room temperature before I decorated them with the fondant cut-outs.  To add the fondant cut-outs it was actually super quick and easy.  I had a tiny bowl of water and just dipped my finger in the water and rubbed a little water on the back of the cut-outs before sticking to the cake.  If you use too much water the cut-outs do slide down and if using a darker colored fondant (i.e. black) on a lighter background (i.e white) it will leave a mark if you remove it, so place them carefully the first time!  The border on the bottom of the larger cake is actually a ribbon I bought and just wrapped around the cake three times.  It held itself in place.  The black border on the upper tier was fondant that I rolled and cut myself.  The bow on the top of the cake was real ribbon that my little sister made.
I didn't stack the cakes until right before the party (literally a half-hour before) as I was so scared they'd fall over or cave-in or I'd drop them!  I added in the Minnie Mouse ears just before guests arrived at 4pm.  I had nothing to fear as the whole cake held up well until we cut into it at close to 6 pm.  Minnie's ears fainted a bit, so I would use longer supports than toothpicks if I had to make this cake again.  All of our guests were so surprised that I not only decorated the cake myself, but everything on it/in it was made entirely from scratch.  Shoot, even I was surprised I pulled it off!  The decorating process took about a half hour total.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Party Time!

I have to say that as exhausted as I was after the fact, planning M's first birthday party was an absolute joy to me.  I find party planning addictive and I could've gotten a lot more out of control with the spending than I did.  Sometimes, I think I should become a party planner just so I can keep doing it, but not go broke spending my money to do so. :)  M's 1st birthday creeped up on us oh so quickly.  I had originally started thinking (and planning) her party in January.  By the end of January, we had decided on a Care Bears theme and I had most of the basics purchased from EBay and 1st Wishes on-line.  Well, in early Feburary A.R. and I were going over what we had, the guest list, what we still needed to buy, etc. and I came to the realization that I wasn't 100% happy with our Care Bear theme.  I had originally offered him two ideas for her party theme: Care Bears and Baby Minnie Mouse.  He (like a typical male) half glanced at my email and only opened one of the two links I sent him with party supply pictures.  Which link did he open?  Of course, just the Care Bears one.

I was quickly coming to the realization that I was pressed for time and if we kept the Care Bears theme it would involve a lot of DIY projects.  On a whim I happened to Google Minnie Mouse first birthday party supplies one last time and came across this banner.  I showed A.R. and we both stared at each other in silence and knew that we'd change the theme going forward.  How could we not when presented with such cuteness?!  I sold the Care Bear stuff I had a aquired on EBay and I bought pretty much everything I would need online within a day (yup, I was a mom on a mission) of us changing our minds.  I also felt a huge amount of relief at no longer having to find the time to DIY on anything but the cake (a cake post to come!). 

Party day dawned overcast and chilly, but no snow or rain.  I had a lot of help setting everything up thanks to my siblings and A.R. and we had the food catered from Stop & Shop and Casa de Mother-in-Law.  We asked my mother-in-law to just make a half tray of Spanish rice and we ordered the entrees, salad, bread, and got some appetizers from Sam's Club.  Of course (as usual) my mother-in-law ignored our pleas to NOT cook more than the rice as we didn't want her stressing out and to just enjoy the party.  HA!  She brought a double tray of rice, 4 roasted chickens (on top of the 80 pieces of fried chicken we already ordered), and 2 huge pork shoulders with her.  We had so much food left over our freezer will be full until Thanksgiving!  (We tried to donate the extra food and couldn't find a shelter over the weekend that would take it.)
I think we made the right choice in changing the theme.  M LOVES Minnie (and Mickey) and the party turned out to be a huge success.  We had 50+ family members and close friends in our house including my parents and younger siblings who flew up from North Carolina and my older brother who flew up from Florida to be there.  We had a dozen or so kids there who had an absolute blast.  We did two classic party games:  a pin the bow on Minnie's dress game and a pinata.  The scrambling to pick up all the pinata candy was hilarious.  All the parents got a kick out of the swarm of children on our floor trying to gather their goodies.  I was concerned M would get nervous when we all sang, "Happy Birthday" to her, but she handled it with ease and a look of confusion on her face.  I presented her with her own cake to smash and she did not disappoint.  Everytime she stuck her hand in it, the crowd gathered round her highchair in a semi-circle would awe and she'd smile, kick her little legs, and dig in again to get another reaction.  She even dove head first into her cake at one point!  Despite the sugar high, she was out for the night at 8:30 and officially welcomed into toddlerhood with a bang.

Happy Birthday, M!  Momma and Papa love you very much!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I am a mother. To a toddler. ::Gasp::

I know every mother says this and I know you hear the old adage over an over (especially when pregnant), but time does fly when there are little people involved and you should cherish and revel in every second.  I don't know what makes the clock seem to tick faster and the calendar pages change sooner, but it does and in the blink of an eye your sweet newborn is an honest to God real little person.  A toddler.
My sweet baby girl was born at 3:10AM on March 25th, 2010 weighing in at 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long.  One year later she is a toddling (not quite walking), cruising, crawling, babbling, whirling dirvish weighing in at 18 pounds 10 ounces and 29 1/4 inches long.  I swear someone played tricks on us and skipped a day, a week, or a month here and there during 2010 and early 2011...how could it possibly have been a full year since I first gazed in awe at my baby girl as she lay dazed on my tummy right after being born?!  She looked at me with a, "what the heck is this place", expression before letting out the most adorable baby wail you could hear (so I say).
There were some scary moments with M's birth and I'll never forget her first moments and telling the nurse over and over again that I couldn't see her as they cleaned her up and suctioned out her tiny lungs and then realizing that my bleeding wasn't stopping and both the resident and attending physician (who was an absolute saint) had gloves up to their elbows covered in blood from me.  I started silently crying in fear that I wouldn't get to glimpse my baby girl again if the darned nurse wouldn't lower my bed railing while the doctors worked on me.  I got a shot of something in my IV that made my heart flutter and me feel loopy, to help my uterus clamp down.  It was then that A.R. took his eyes off M and realized what was happening to me.  He came over and held my hand and told me she was beautiful...we were both still shocked we had a baby girl.  The first girl in A.R.'s family in many years- he's the youngest of 4 sons and we have 4 nephews before M was born (there's a 5th nephew six months younger than her).  As I laid there, watching the doctors work and trying to steal a glance at M again it ran through my mind how sad it would be to leave M and A.R. behind at her birth.  It was a fleeting thought, but one that haunted me for awhile afterwards.  We all sighed a huge sigh of relief when after what seemed like hours (probably more like 5 minutes), the medicine and doctors skilled hands stopped the bleeding and I was stitched up.

A.R. held our precious girl after a she got the final all-clear from the on-staff pediatrician after the cord had been wrapped tightly around her neck twice.  A.R. is still bummed that he didn't get to cut it- the doctor did it before she was even fully born.  Then, he handed her to me with the biggest smile on his face and the nurse helped me get her to latch for her first feeding.  My mom had been outside the door during all of this and we finally let her come in to meet her first granddaughter.  It was the still of the night and we all stared at this tiny little one snuggled up to my breast.  She is and always will be my Angel Baby.  Absolute perfection even down to the tiny brown birth mark on her little calve.  I hope she doesn't hate it when she's older...I call it her little spot of Puerto Rican.  (I know, I know.  It's not politically correct, but she IS half Latina and I hope she can Somba and Bachata with the best of them someday.)  I whisper, "Goodnight, Angel Baby. Sweet dreams. Mama and Papa love you very much," into her ear every night before I lie her down.  I've done that since day one when she was already sound asleep and I do it now as I lie her down semi-awake as she snuggles up to her Taggies blanket and lovey.

I could not imagine before motherhood, how much one tiny being could make me so in awe, so proud (eg. I cried when she laughed for the first time- not a tear in the eye, I mean I cried.), so exhausted, and feel so blessed to be able to call her my daughter.  Watching her explore, learn, and test her environment is my new favorite hobby.  She was an easygoing baby...all smiles and babbles.  Now, she is a toddler.  She points out things she wants and when she doesn't get her way I can see a bit of me in her.  M resembles her Dad- she's a spitting image of him- but she sure has my spunk, my stubborn nature, and my determination.  I think that's all a nice way of saying the girl has a temper. :)  She threw herself on the floor last night for the first time because I wouldn't let her take the books off of the bookshelf for the umpteenth time.  A.R. and I glanced at each other wide-eyed with the telepathic "Awe, shit- we are so in for it look" that we're slowly getting accustumed to.  She will also arch her back and throw herself backwards when you are holding her if she is deprived of that one thing she HAS to have that very second.  If we don't put food on her tray fast enough, she screams with both arms outstretched reaching for what you're slicing.  The girl is a week into her first year...how the heck are we going to handle the terrible twos?! 

An old favorite of mine...

I look forward to watching M continue to explore her environment, play with her dogs, get her courage up enough to take more walking steps (she's taken 5 in a row so far, but only with coaxing), finger paint, and doggoneit grow some more hair so I can give her the pig tail look of a "real" toddler!  She cut her two top front teeth in the last week and had a tough time with them (the first four came in with no issues), lord help me when it's time for the molars in a few more months.  At the end of my day at work, I get a smile on my face because I get to finally pick her up and steal a quick snuggle before she's crawling off to her next big adventure.  When I drop her off it pangs me to have to leave her yet again (other moms told me it would get easier when I first went back to work when she was 9 1/2 weeks old- eh, still not easy.  It flat out sucks.).  She loves bath time and I know she loves me (I have the milk tap afterall!), but she adores A.R.  M has always smiled the best for him.  Whenever he walks into the room she lights up...a true Daddy's girl.  Watching them together is intoxicating.  I wish I had a spy cam to catch him dancing like a lunatic singing the theme songs to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Dora the Explorer to her at the top of his lungs while she dances and smiles and babbles along.  I'll walk in the room and interupt their little world and both of them look up at me with the same smiles and I know I am home.

After all is said and done, I love being a mother to this little girl.  Right now A.R. and I are her world and all is right with our world.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

I love IKEA!

How can you not love this store when you score such cute play things as these for your little one while shopping for more adult things at the same time?!  (See photos below)  M loves to "help" me in the kitchen and she even now has her own drawer that I have been filling with various children's sized pans and utensils.  I scored these adorable pots, utensils, and even a cloth cutting board with accessories from IKEA this weekend.  They are all under the product line named, Duktig.

Breakfast kit (made from cloth for $4.99):

Pots & Pans $9.99:

Utensils $3.99:
The Duktig line also has a coffee/tea set, vegetable set, fruit basket, and dessert set in cloth along with a baking pan set, flatware, and tableware.  It took all my resolve not to walk away with this adorable kitchen set, too!  I think I may try and convince A.R. to go ahead and let me get it (you know, just in case they discontinue it) to put away for M for next Christmas.  You know, thinking ahead and all. :)