Friday, September 20, 2013

Baby Must Haves: Surviving the First Six Months With an Infant

Well, we survived. Not gonna lie, it took a lot of glasses of wine and the help of family and friends, but we are alive to tell you that you can do it. This too shall pass. You can have a baby, survive it, and do it well. Well, most of the time.

So many pregnant friends have asked me how we made it through the first six months and what are necessities for life with an infant. I thought I'd make a list. I am a lover of lists. And don't get me started on calendars.

By the way, I looked a little further into my question in my last post about how long you can call a baby an infant...This is what I found:

"An infant (from the Latin word infans, meaning "unable to speak" or "speechless") is the very young offspring of a human. When a human child learns to walk, the term toddler may be used instead. The term infant is typically applied to young children between the ages of 1 month and 12 months."

Thanks Wikipedia. I can always count on you.

Anyway, here is a list of what I deem to be of absolute necessity during your first months with baby.
  • The Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper. This bad boy gently rocks when your baby moves. Genius. So pretty much, if you aren't holding your babe, he will be in this. The end. R is getting too big for his these days. Lay off the bottles, kid! Just kidding. It's actually not so much his size that is making this harder to use now, but his desire to try catapulting himself out of it. I don't really want to have to visit the ER for some kind of infant fracture. Nope, no thank you. So when your babe is becoming more mobile, make sure you use the little seat belt attached to this.
My little bunny in his Rock n Play - He was so little!
  • Aden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets. Lightweight, breathable, oh so soft. Did I say breathable? Yeah, that's important because the first few months you will be absolutely climbing the walls freaking out about whether or not your child is breathing. Actually, scratch that. You won't have enough energy to be climbing walls. But you'll be worried ok? This was me: "Is that blanket covering his nose? Please move that blanket down. I think that blanket is covering his nose." So use these blankets and worry less (a little).
Robby loved being swaddled in his Aden and Anais blankets. After about four weeks, he liked his arms out.
  • Aden and Anais Serenity Star. This thing is awesome! My mom gave it to me before R was born. It has so many cool features such as a night light, feeding log, white noise maker, and lullaby singer. White noise is a complete necessity for infant sleep. Heck, I am so used to hearing it on the monitor that I can't sleep without it either. This will play white noise (or lullabies) all night long. None of that set timer nonsense where it goes off and then baby wakes up. Um, that's not fun when you'd kill for even an additional two minutes of sleepy time. The nightlight feature gives off the perfect amount of soothing light so you don't break a toe in baby's room at 3:00 am. Trust me, you are already recovering from enough injuries and do not need a broken toe to add to the list. Oy.
No photo of the Serenity Star so here's a pic of Robby. Why is my baby the cutest baby in the world?
  • NoseFrida The Snot Sucker. Babies need to breathe, obvi. For some reason their little noses get clogged up a lot in the first months, and you will need this snot sucker. Sounds disgusting, and I thought so too. But now I am a loyal Frida user. We're on a nickname basis with each other. You literally suck the snot out of their nose with a little tube. It's European. They make really cool stuff over there. Don't worry - the snot doesn't actually end up in your mouth. There is a filter that catches it of course. This works SO much better than the traditional bulb syringe things. And it's super fun to see how much snot you can get out in the tube. It's the small things.
This is the face your baby will make if you don't use the Frida.
  • Aquaphor. If you don't have a baby yet, this probably seems a little random. Babies drool.  A LOT. Wait, is it just mine? Ugh. R's drooling problem started around three months. I slather this all over his face before naps, before bed, and first thing in the morning. So that's basically all day long. If I don't, his little face gets all chapped up and irritated from the drool and then I look like a bad mom. And its all about appearances, you know. Kidding.
See those chapped cheeks? This is why Aquaphor is a must.
  • Zipadee-Zip. Amazing. So, when you stop swaddling at nighttime and for naps, you have a situation on your hands. You are in a real pickle. Baby still craves the comfort and warmth of a swaddle, but it isn't safe anymore. Usually because he started flipping over. If baby flips over swaddled, you may have a breathing situation. Ugh. The horror. This is why you need a Zipadee-Zip. I googled "swaddle transition" and found these. (What would we do without google? I am so glad I didn't have a baby in a log cabin on the prairie. I would not want to have to do this without Zipadee-Zips). We started using them when R was about 4 months, and he sleeps like a champ in them. I truly believe they lengthen his naps. Winning!

Here R is in his Zipadee-Zip. He loves it!
  • Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller. I've mentioned this stroller before. Best stroller ever. Lightweight. Folds easily (and with one hand). Sleek and compact. I looked at lots of strollers. There was a particular stroller that lots of my friends were getting that runs a little over $700. When I went to look at it, I couldn't even figure out how to fold the dang thing. I literally had to get out my phone and watch a YouTube video on folding said stroller. Ummm......that means it's too hard. My dreams came true when I tested out the City Mini. I honestly don't know how people function without it. I don't think I would ever run errands without it. I had friends say that I needed to get a stroller that could convert to fit two kids for down the road use. Um, why wouldn't I want to make my life as easy as possible right now? If and when a second bambino comes along, I'll invest in a double stroller. And the Baby Jogger brand has some fabulous options for two kiddos. I'm obsessed. Baby Jogger, if you're listening and you need a face for your brand, I'll do it. But I want my make-up professionally done, ok?
Here we are on our very first walk. Exciting day! I couldn't believe I could actually walk down the street and push a stroller for a little while. Surgery recovery isn't fun. But I'm here to tell you that it's survivable! Especially with wine and chocolate, as stated before. Oh yeah, and hydrocodone. I've got a few leftover saved for a rainy day. Totally joking.

Sorry for the grainy pic. Here's R the first time we tried putting him in the City Mini without the car seat and adaptor bar. He much prefers to roll this way. I think he looks like an old school 1920s mobster here.
"Hey lady, fuggetabout the car seat. And that's an order not a request."

That sums it up! Before I go, here is an easy, easy recipe for the cooler fall weather. This would be great for those of you trying to get back in the kitchen post baby or for anyone who needs to save a little time.

Normally I like to use the Pioneer Woman's roast recipe but every once in a while I just need to do something that requires no effort. This is it. Takes maybe all of 5 minutes to assemble. Mine is cooking away right now!

Three-Packet Roast


  • 1 3-pound roast
  • 1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 packet dry Italian dressing mix
  • 1 packet dry brown gravy mix
  • 1 bag baby carrots
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 box fresh mushrooms - whatever kind you like
  • 1 cup water
  • Dump everything in crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
*You can also add quartered potatoes but I like to make mashed potatoes separately and serve the roast and veggies over the potatoes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's Tailgate Time: Football Food!

After making my poppyseed ham and cheese sliders last week, it got me really craving all foods tailgate, so I decided to dedicate a whole post to some of my favorite football foods. These are all finger foods which is nice for tailgating. Who wants to have to remember to bring forks? I love how easy these recipes are. They are so easy that my hubs could make them. He says he can't cook but I have a newsflash for him: If you can read, you can cook. Just read and follow the recipe. How easy and fun is that?!

Here we go!

1. Obviously, the Poppyseed Ham and Cheese Sliders are a favorite of mine. Here's the recipe again if you missed it last week. These little packages of goodness seem to have a lot of names. Tailgate Sandwiches, Hallelujah Ham Rolls, Ham and Cheese Sliders......doesn't really matter what you call them, they are simply delicious! I actually had time to retype these recipes for you. Robby, thank you for taking good naps today. Let's do it again tomorrow. And the next day after that. K?

◦ 1 lb deli ham thinly sliced 
◦ 1/2 lb baby Swiss cheese 
◦ 2 pkgs (24 count total) dinner rolls (I use King's Hawaiian Rolls)
◦ 1/2 cup butter 
◦ 2 Tbsp mustard 
◦ 1 Tbsp Worcestershire 
◦ 1 Tbsp poppy seeds 
◦ 1/3 cup brown sugar 

◦ Make sandwiches with rolls, ham and cheese. Fill a 9×13 pan with these. You can squeeze them in.
◦ In a medium sauce pan on the stove, bring to a soft boil: butter, mustard, Worcestershire, poppy seeds, and brown sugar. 
◦ Pour sauce over top of sandwiches. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
◦ I would seriously consider doubling this recipe when you make it. People will eat like 4 or 5 of them.
2. Rice Krispie Treats. When I need a little excitement in my life, I like to play around with the standard Rice Krispie Treat Recipe. I have experimented with many variations such as using Cocoa Puffs in place of the Rice Krispie cereal. And if you try it with Fruity Pebbles, you may never make regular Rice Krispies again. Anyway, the secret to moist (I really HATE the word moist but cannot think of a substitution here) treats is to add extra mini marshmallows at the very end. I can't take credit for thinking of this, as I discovered this tip from The Pioneer Woman. I love biting into actual morsels of marshmallow in the treats instead of just a clump of cereal. MMMMMMM! Here's the recipe. And considering how easy it is, I'm not really even sure it qualifies as a "recipe".....

◦ 6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal (or Cocoa Puffs or Fruity Pebbles)
◦ 1 10 ounce bag large marshmallows
 1 bag mini marshmallows
◦ 4 Tbsp butter

◦ Melt butter and 10-ounce bag of large marshmallows on stove over low heat. I cannot emphasize the importance of LOW HEAT here enough! Yes, it will take a little bit to melt. Don't get impatient and turn it up though or it will burn. And who would eat burned-tasting treats? Actually, probably my dog. Gus will eat anything, including paper, grass, clothing, pacifiers, and bottles.
◦ Remove from heat and stir in cereal.
◦ Mix in the bag of mini marshmallows.
◦ Press mixture into buttered 9x13 pan and let cool.
◦ When cool, flip out onto cutting board and cut your treats in to nice little squares. You could always drizzle with chocolate if you're feeling industrious.

3. Spinach Dip. This dip is lovely.  It's another recipe with countless variations but this one is my favorite. It is the exact recipe off the back of the Knorr Vegetable Mix packet. My mom always made this at our annual Christmas parties so it reminds me of my childhood.

◦ 1 packet of Knorr Vegetable mix
◦ 1 cup mayonnaise
 1 16-ounce container of sour cream
◦ 1 10-ounce block of frozen spinach, cooked, drained, and cooled
◦ 1 4-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
◦ Mix all ingredients together. Chill in the fridge.
◦ I think this dip tastes best when you make it at least six hours ahead of when you want to eat it. I usually make it the night before.
4. Queso. The only thing that could make this queso better is drinking a frozen margarita with it. Or three. If you like it spicy, use hot Rotel and spicy sausage. Maybe even throw in some jalapenos. (How do I make the little tilde sign above the n? That is really bothering me.) If you keep it bland for the kiddies, stick to the mild stuff.

◦ 1 32-ounce block Velveeta cheese
◦ 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
 1 can Rotel
◦ 1 can cream of mushroom soup
◦ 1 pound ground beef or sausage *I use Jimmy Dean sausage.

◦ Brown meat and set aside.
◦ Cut Velveeta and cream cheese into cubes and place in crock pot.
◦ Pour in Rotel and cream of mushroom soup. Stir ingredients.
◦ Heat on low for about an hour. *Once the mixture is melted, add the meat and continue cooking.

Now I'm officially hungry. And thirsty. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right? But before I go, for those who care, I'll leave you with a 6-month update and some pics of my little (big) man.


My little munchkin turned 6 months old on September 9. I cannot believe it. We had a great 6 month appointment and our doctor told us we could start practicing with sippy cups and feeding him table food. He mentioned giving him shredded chicken. Umm, did he say chicken? I was having an internal panic attack as he said this.....because my child doesn't have better believe the food I give him will be cut into the teeniest, most microscopic pieces you've ever seen. Until he is 20 years old. No choking in this house! Ugh, I'm sweating as I type this.
R weighed in at a whopping 19 pounds and was 28 inches tall. He is in the 90% for weight and 98% for height. This is hilarious considering who his parents are. Although, my parents are tall and so is his great grandpa. We'll see how long this lasts. Enjoy it for now, kid! Is there a football team for infants? And is 6 months still considered an infant? Hmm...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Fall Y'all!

My first chalkboard message! I have been meaning to make a chalkboard for years....then I had a baby and realized I was just gonna have to buy one. Cause no one got time for that. I found this one at Marshall's.
As I type this, I sit here smelling the heart-warming scent of warm apple pie and delicious pumpkin bread wafting through the house. No, I wasn't THAT industrious. It's not the real thing, but my favorite fall candle, of course. It's called Autumn Harvest and I am rationing it because I simply cannot find it at Target this year. I have two leftover from last fall, and as soon as September hit, I rushed to purchase 100 more. They are nowhere to be found! Target, if you're reading this, please bring back the Scent Portfolio Autumn Harvest candle ASAP. I'm not sure how long I can ration my current stash. It is just SO delicious smelling. Candles make me ridiculously happy. This brings me to a list of my fall favorites!
  • Numero Uno: Obviously, the Scent Portfolio Autumn Harvest candle from Target.
  • Numero Dos (I've been doing a little too much Rosetta Stone lately -Nerd Alert, I know): Boots. Ok, so I know it's still too hot in Texas to be excited about wearing boots. But I just love them. Fall dressing is so easy when you can throw on leggings and boots. Preferably with a sweater dress. PLEASE for the love of boots, cool down already. I'd take a high of 85 at this point. And I'd leave the house in a jacket if the high was 75, y'all. I am really wanting the boots pictured below. Maybe next paycheck. Que the music......She works hard for the money, dun dun so hard for the moneyyyyyy.....and she wants to buy these bootssssss. If you aren't familiar with, you need to be. That's where I found these boots. Next day shipping and free returns, everybody! I might like even more than
    OK so I know these are pricey and I probably can't justify the cost, but I love them so much.
  • Numero Tres: Tailgate Food. Gotta love an excuse to eat junk food, and tailgating/football watching is a good one. These poppyseed ham and cheese sliders are always a hit and so easy for feeding a crowd. I made them for July 4th and plan on doing so again while we watch football this week. Yum!
Hope this is readable. I don't have the time nor the patience to retype it today! Why didn't I sign R up for one more day of Mother's Day Out?!?! Then I would have all the time in the world to retype recipes for you.
  • Numero Quatro: Pumpkin. I love all foods pumpkin. Here's my favorite pumpkin bar recipe. These are perfect if you're in charge of dessert for Thanksgiving and you don't dig pie.

That completes my fall favorites for now.

In other news, R turned 6 months old on September 9. He is such a sugar biscuit nugget. That's what I want to call him all day long while I squeeze his rolls. His 6-month appointment isn't until next week but I am fairly certain he is near 20 pounds. My biceps know. Here are some recent photos of what we've been up to.
  • Robby's First Day of School! He totally stuck out his bottom lip and whimpered when I handed him over to the teachers but they sent me pictures of him smiling later in the day. It wasn't as hard as I though it would be to leave him, but I think it's because I love where he is going so much. I spent the day at work, so it wasn't really a "Mother's Day Out" for me. Sigh. I do actually really like my job though. I am going to try to start getting a babysitter one day a week so I can get out and remember a world exists beyond this house. I think it will make me a better Mom. Are you reading this Andrew Lombardi? Not that I don't miss my biscuit when I'm away from him though, because I do! SO MUCH!
  • I discovered that R loves to sit in this little high chair and play with his toys! Mind-blowing, I know. He can't sit up on his own yet so this is perfect for him. I got this Space Saver high chair at Buy Buy Baby. Love that it straps onto any chair and I can keep it hidden in the closet when needed so we don't look so much like a Kiddies Wonderland up in here. I am still on the lookout for an antique wooden high chair, but this will have to do until I find the perfect one.
  • Robby loves him some baby yoga. I would like to know when we lose this flexibility. I tried this pose myself and my foot doesn't go past my knee, pretty much.

  • Here's R plugging his ears letting me know he wants me to stop singing. My singing would fall into his 6-month least favorite things category, along with being still, car rides longer than 30 minutes, and butternut squash. Not a squash lover. R's 6-month favorites are peas, bath time, peek-a-boo, Sophie the Giraffe, and his resident best friend, Gus.
  • Here's R with his Aunt Allison and Uncle Patrick. We took a little solo road trip last weekend to visit Alie.  She is in the hospital on bed rest until my nephew James arrives. She has a condition called vasa previa. Luckily, she and James are doing very well so far, and she is so, so lucky that this diagnosis was made as it is life saving. Many times it goes undiagnosed, which can be fatal to the baby. We are sending positive vibes their way and are so excited to meet James. Robby is over the moon to have a cousin and I am ecstatic to be an aunt!
Hope you have enjoyed your start to fall! Here's to cooler weather REAL soon!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Summer Wrap-Up...and Tortilla Soup

I can't believe summer is over. On to football season and holidays! If only there was a chill in the air.

Thought I'd share a wrap-up of some of our favorite summer memories.

  • Robby's many trips to the pool were a summer highlight! He is a total water baby. I see Summer Olympics 2030 in our future. Is that right? I have no clue what the years of future Olympics will be. I know I could add up the years....math isn't a strong point here, k? Andy's going to have to be our resident math homework helper. But if R needs help with posters or dioramas, I'm his gal! Do kids still make dioramas? I sure hope so.
Check out these handsome men.
Hello, ladies.
R and Dad trying to determine when he will be eligible for the Summer Olympics.
  • Andy and my's first overnight trip away from R. Love that kid but this was AWESOME and so needed. We both love to travel and promised each other we would still go places after baby came. Of course, we can't wait to show him the world too! To me, travel is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your children! I am already having anxiety about where R's first "real" trip should be to. Do we go big? London or New York? Perhaps a smaller affair like South Padre? Anyway, sweet Marmi and Opa volunteered to keep R for us in July. They just called us up and gave us the dates that they were free to Robby-sit. I would never just ask someone to keep him overnight but if you offer, I WILL take you up on it! So only offer if you are serious! Actually, half-way serious is ok too. Some of my best memories of my Mimi are from when she stayed with us while my parents were away. She knew how to par-tay, i.e. letting us eat endless amounts of her famous buttermilk and chocolate pies and stay up past bedtime. While R partied with his Marmi and Opa, we spent some time at a fabulous little place in Jamaica called the Sandals Royal Plantation. If you love laying on the beach all day and drinking concoctions with tiny umbrellas, check it out. 
Not a bad view to wake up to. 
Me and the hubs after sleeping for a blissfully uninterrupted ten hours. 
Man, there is not much better in life than a good breakfast. OK, maybe my baby.
Don't you love this pool? I felt like I was on a movie set in the 1950s.
Until next time, Jamaica. See ya lata mon.
  • R spent his Wednesdays with his Grandma Kathy while I was at work. She is so generous and sweet to keep him and they have a real blast together. Robby loves his time here and tries to be on his best behavior so we are welcome back! Highlights at Grandma's include Robby pretending he only naps 30 minutes at a time and wanting to eat bottles all day long. What happens at Grandma's, stays at Grandma's......and that other saying is definitely true........if Mom says no, ask Grandma! Thanks for all the love Kathy!
I can't believe how little he looks in this picture! Interesting stage, pre-hair....
  • This isn't a favorite summer memory, but little R got sick for the first time. My heart broke in a million pieces seeing him so sad. It is true that when you have a child, it is like wearing your heart on the outside of your body. Thankfully, Marmi happened to be visiting and we survived his first sickness together. Talk about an anxiety attack. R had a 104 fever and could barely lift his head up. Of course, I immediately thought he had meningitis or some incurable disease. Turns out, it was just a virus. Whew! My sister sent me this is an email a while ago and it fits me to a tee (or is it "to a T"???):

  • Introducing food to Robby at the end of this summer was such fun! Fun if you love cleaning up huge messes and witnessing some of the grossest diapers you've seen of your life. Don't even get me started on what pears can do. Oh. My. Gas Mask. If you have a strong gag reflex, you either A. Shouldn't have children or B. Will need to hire a diaper changer. Is that a job? I bet Princess Kate has one, or maybe Wills has to step in for the big jobs. By the way, my blog stats tell me I have 4 readers in the UK. Pretty sure it's Kate, the diaper changer, the nanny, and Will-but he's only on when no one is looking.
Mashed peas, again? Sigh...
  • Another summer highlight has been getting myself back in the kitchen! Things finally calmed down after Robby was born (talk about a Category 5 Hurricane that hits and lingers for a while!) and we are in more of a routine which has made it easier to cook dinner again. I plan on sharing some of my favorite go-to recipes. Here's one that I recently took over to some sweet friends who just had a precious baby girl: Chicken Tortilla Soup - So easy and so delicious! You can make it in a crock pot or on the stove. If you do stove top, just reduce the cooking time- I think maybe simmer an hour or so on low to medium heat. Enjoy!

I guess that's a wrap. Coming soon....our start to Fall, R's 6 month update, and some of our Fall favorites!