Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Monday

Has it been a week since I posted?  Oops!  We had a busy week last week with my dad in town visiting from LA, an ice storm, and a baby with a cold. More on that later...for now, food!
Linking up with In No Simple Language for Menu Monday. Here's what we enjoyed in the Brooks house this week. 

Panko Parmesan Parsley Pork Chops

Y'all. This was delicious. I didn't change a thing except I forgot to squeeze on the lemon at the end.  I didn't miss it. These were great and will definitely be in our rotation. We served them with some garlic roasted potatoes and sliced tomatoes. This was also the only pic I took of our food this week!

Fish Tacos
We have these fairly often. We use tilapia that we season with fajita seasonings. We like a little avocado and fruit salsa on them along with our lettuce, tomato, and cheese. 

Steak, Baked Potato, & Sliced Tomatoes
Grilled. Simple. Yum. 

Shrimp Scampi and Crusty French Bread
My dad's specialty. 

We ordered pizza one night from Marco's which is pretty great, cheap takeout. It's our new go to pizza joint. 

Barrett and I went out for dinner one night to a new restaurant in town called Sushi Guru. It was voted best sushi in Charlotte 2012. We definitely enjoyed it, and would probably go back, but I don't think it would have gotten my vote for best sushi in Charlotte. 

What are y'all having this week?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Menu Monday (On Tuesday)

We're back in action!  Internet is up and running!  :-)

I'm linking up today (one day late!) with Rachel over at In No Simple Language for Menu Monday.  One of my goals for 2013 was to meal plan.  So far, so good!  I figured that if I linked up to Menu Monday each week, I'd feel like I was being held accountable! I left my planner at work, so I honestly can't remember what we had this week and what we had last week, and I didn't get a picture of all of our meals either...I'll get better!  Here's what we cooked up in the Brooks house this week (or last week!)...

Roast Beef & Provolone Paninis with Carmelized Onions and Horseradish Cream Sauce.

These were so delicious!  We've had a panini maker forever and we always forget we have it!  After this yummy sandwich, I think we'll remember to use it a bit more!

Stuffed Peppers

Eh.  These were alright.  Probably won't be making them again.  I sort of meshed together a couple of different recipes and they just didn't have much flavor.  They were stuffed with ground beef, brown rice, onions, tomatoes, and tomato sauce and were then topped with shredded cheese.

Shrimp and Grits

Barrett makes the best shrimp and grits.  So yummy that I couldn't get a picture of them before I stirred it all together and started eating!  It's a tasty medley of grits, cheese, bacon, red peppers, onions, garlic, shrimp, and some other seasonings that I'm not sure of. 

Loaded Potato Soup

This was a weightwatchers recipe that a friend of mine posted on Facebook.  It was super easy to throw together and was maybe even yummier the next day.

Chicken Enchiladas

This was (according to Pinterest) "the best white chicken enchilada recipe."  It didn't disappoint!  It was perfect and made a huge pan!  Great recipe for a group.

Another Pinterest recipe that did not disappoint!  I made this exactly the way the recipe called for.  We served it over brown rice and it was delicious!
I thought this was good...Barrett hated it.  It wasn't saucy enough for him and it was pretty mushroomy.  It's definitely a dry pasta dish and you've got to like mushrooms.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

We Broke the Internet


Y'all remember a post I did a while back on a few reasons I had been MIA? One of those reasons was because I broke the Internet...twice. Bring on times number three and four. We have had an AT&T air card for several years. It's been all well and good till our little bundle of joy came along and caused us to upload an absurd amount of cute photographs to shutterfly. Once we got to 5000 megabytes or something, cue Internet turning off.

So, we made the trip to the AT&T store and switched to wifi. Why we hadn't done this sooner, I'll never know. Not only will we be saving money and it will be nearly impossible to go over the allowed data each month on wifi, but I'll finally be able to use my Nook at home to download books and we will be able to really use our iPad and FaceTime!

Anywho, I'll be back in action Monday after our wifi is officially installed. Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I heard on tv this weekend (maybe on the Today show?) that most people who make New Years resolutions will still be at least partially following them in June. Good for them. I have never been one to keep a resolution. I've been making the same basic resolution for the last 15 years or so...eat better/lose weight/be more active/go to the gym. I mean really, probably since high school, as soon as body image became an obsession. Who really keeps those resolutions though? If I had to guess, I'd say not many. That's why the gym is packed on January 2 and empty by February.

This year, I'm setting a few goals. They carry much less pressure. I want to start meal planning. I want to sit down on Sundays, figure out what we want to have for the week, make a grocery list, and only buy those items. This will be great for a couple of reasons...we should save money because I won't be buying randomness at the store, we won't be eating out as much, and we won't be throwing away food because it expires before we get to it. It should also keep me from buying unhealthy things at work for lunch because we should have lots to of yummy leftovers! I started this weekend by cleaning out and taking inventory of everything in our kitchen. We've got a full week of meals planned and I'm excited to really try to stick to this plan.

I also want to run a 5k this year. I've said it before...I am NOT a runner. I despise cardio. It is not fun for me. But, I know it's good for me, so I'm going to try to suck it up and just do it. I've got the Couch to 5K app downloaded on my phone and a race I'm interested in doing this April. Next step will be signing up and paying my registration fee!

So, hopefully these are a little more feasible. I don't think I'll feel stressed about these. No pressure. :-)

You guys making resolutions or goals this year? Come on...everybody's doing it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

4 Month Well Visit

Ellison's 4 month well visit with her pediatrician was today. We finally got to have an appointment with our real pediatrician, Dr. Washburn! Dr. Washburn and I worked together at Hemby. She was one of our inpatient pediatricians at the hospital. She left the hospital in October, but just started at our office last week. We are so glad she's finally there and had a great appointment with her!

Ellison weighs in at 13 pounds 15 ounces (46th percentile) and is 25 inches long (65th percentile). Her head circumference is 40.5 cm (25th percentile). Not sure who she got this tall skinny thing from, but good for her!

She had to get three vaccines today...two in her thighs and one oral. She was so brave! She cried pretty hard when she got poked, but settled down much faster this time than at her two month appointment. She took a power nap in the car and was back to our happy girl when she woke up.

We got the go ahead to try some rice cereal. Dr. Washburn told us to go home, get the video camera, and try it! I think we will start this weekend, adding some rice cereal with her dinner time bottle. We will stick to that routine for at least a month and then around 5 or 6 months we will try some fruits and veggies.

We also got the ok to go back to our old formula. Thank God! That Nutramigen is some pretty gross stuff. It smells horrific, Ellison hates it, she's started fighting her bedtime bottle again, and it's given her diarrhea. No thank you! Similac Sensitive, you are our friend!

All in all, we've got a healthy, happy baby on our hands. She's meeting all of her milestones. We are so blessed. :-)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

4 Months

Dear Ellison,

You are four months old!  I know I say it every month, and I know it sounds like a broken record, but I can't believe another month has gone by already!  You are getting so big so fast, and while it seems strange to think that you're 4 months old already, it also seems strange to think that you've only been with us for 4 months!  You've been a busy little bee this month.  Here are a few highlights.

-Your 4 month well visit is scheduled for next week, so we'll know then how big you are.  At your doctor's appointment today (for the never ending stomach bug), you were 13 pounds 5 oz.

-You still comfortably fit in size 1 diapers, and I hope you stay there for a while becuase we still have a couple of giant boxes of that size!

-You're pretty much wearing 3-6 month clothes all the time now.  Some of your 3 month clothes still fit but are getting a little short.  You are wearing 3-6 month and some Carter's 6 month footie pajamas....you are too long for 3 month now. 

-You're still a really great sleeper and we are so thankful for that!  You are usually down from about 9-6, give or take a half hour or so on either side.  We can pretty much count on 9 good hours of sleep.  On the weekends, we can usually readjust you in your crib (you're still scooting all over the place!) and give you your paci and you'll sleep for another hour or so.  You don't have a set nap schedule, but you usually take three or four naps a day.  You tend to take a nice long nap early afternoon that lasts around 2 hours.  The rest of your naps are just 30-45 minute cat naps. 

-When you get sleepy now, you rub your little eyes with your fists and nuzzle into our shoulders.  You've also started suckling a little on your bottom lip.  These cues always signal that a good nap is on the way!

-You are still so happy in the mornings when you wake up!  You are all smiles and giggles!

-We started feeding you 6 oz bottles at 16 weeks.  You are a great eater and usually eat every 3-4 hours during the day.  We've had you on the CVS brand of Similac Sensitive for a while now, but are taking the doctor's suggestion of trying Nutramigen for a week to see if it helps finally get rid of this upset stomach you've had for the last 6 days.

-Speaking of your upset stomach, the day after Christmas you started with a pretty nasty stomach bug.  You had it, I had it, your dad had it...you still have a touch of it but we are crossing our fingers and toes and praying hard that you're on the mend.  It was the first time you were realy sick, and it was terrible!  We felt so bad for you.  You'd look at us with your big, sad eyes as if to say, "What the heck is happening?!"  But, then you'd smile and giggle and we'd know it was all going to be OK.

-On Christmas Eve you rolled from your back to your belly.  I still haven't seen you go from your belly to your back yet, and you haven't done much rolling at all since the one time we saw you.  You roll over onto your side pretty much everytime we lay you on your back now.  You are very strong on your belly now though and tolerate tummy time really well when you're in a good mood!  You hold yourself up nice and tall with your arms and can spin yourself around in a full circle while laying on your belly.

-You still really love your play mat.  There's one toy in particular that makes you giggle so much!  It's a soft block with a bumblebee on the side.  We can always make you laugh by showing you the bee and saying "buzz, buzz, buzz!"

-You are really reaching for your toys now and pick your favorite when given the choice.  You still love your Taggie blanket and are now also enjoying Sophie the giraffe, your stuffed giraffe and stuffed elephant, and a few teethers.  EVERYTHING goes in your mouth now!  Toys, blankets, hands...This makes me think you're definitely starting to teethe because you've also become quite the drool monster! 

-Your legs are so strong.  When we have you sitting in our laps, you like to push up to standing with your little legs.  You really seem to like standing!  You also sit really well when we support your back.  You like sitting up and facing forward so much more than you like lying down.  I think there's much more to entertain you when you're up!

-You went out with Daddy on your first big solo outing.  You went to meet some of his friends at Fox and the Hound to watch football the Sunday before Christmas.  You were such a good girl and took a nice long nap while you were there.

-You have decided that you really love the Bjorn.  You hated it at first.  Now that you're big enough to face forward, you think it's the best thing since sliced bread and it's our go to when you're a little fussy.  I think you like being up at adult height taking in the world.  You have also started tolerating your Bumbo for longer periods.  Personally, I think it looks really uncomfortable!  Cousin Lola grew out of her Johnny Jump Up, so she sent it to you to use.  You think it's lots of fun, too.  I'm looking forward to you being able to sit up on your own because I know it will make you so happy!


-You are still super chatty.  Your new favorite noise is "woo" and you have the sweetest little giggle.  You think your daddy is hilarious, and you love it when we kiss your feet and your belly. 

-You've really started to notice Buddy lately too.  You'll watch him walk around the room and will smile so big when he comes over to see you.

-You've started watching your daddy and I alot more too and notice when we leave the room. 

-School is going really well.  You seem to really like all of your teachers.  They are all so sweet to you and we have been very happy with the care you're getting there.  I think you're learning so much!

-You had a special visitor at the beginning of the month.  Nonni came to visit from Louisiana for a few days.  You girls hung out around the house for a couple of days and got some quality play and snuggle time in!  It was too short of a trip.  We can't wait to visit with her again soon...maybe next time we'll go see everyone down in LA!

-The biggest, most fun thing that happened this month was your first Christmas.  I'll do a whole separate post on that because we did so many fun things!  You picked out your first tree, met Santa, got lots of fun gifts, and got to spend lots of time with people who love you very much.

-2012 is coming to and end.  It was the most wonderful year.  We can't wait to see what 2013 has in store.  We are so excited to watch you grow.  We love you to the moon and stars and back.

Happy 4 months, baby girl.



Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Eve Fiasco

Y'all. Let me just start by saying that when the day ended on Monday, we were sure glad we got to start fresh in a new year!

It all started with me taking E into the pediatrician for a weight check after that horrific stomach bug. I left the office with the hope that Gigi would be able to come spend the rest of the day with E so I could get back to work. Unfortunately, guess who caught the stomach bug...Gigi. Sad. So, I called Barrett to see if he could come home early. Because it was a holiday, they were already low on staff and he'd just taken a week off for Christmas so there was a lot of work to catch up on. Oh well. So that left me to stay home with E...the person who has about zero time off left after maternity leave!

I asked Barrett to swing by the school on his way home because I'd left all of Ellison's bottles there. I'd had every intention of bringing her back to school after her appointment! Barrett went to school, picked up the bottles, and when he went back outside - the car wouldn't start. Awesome. Ellison and I hopped in the car to go pick him up and he had his car towed to the shop.

On our way back home, we came upon a dog darting in and out of traffic. For my Charlotte peeps, we were on Johnston Rd, at 5:00 pm, on NYE....disaster! The poor thing had his little tail tucked between his legs and a shock collar on with tags. It looked like he'd just busted through his electric fence. He was scared to death, and there was no way I could watch him get hit by a car, so we pulled over to try to coax him over. Barrett got out and tried to get him out of the road. The poor dog wouldn't come anywhere near us. After about ten minutes or so with no luck, the dog ran off into a neighborhood and we lost sight of him. Oh well. At least he wasn't in traffic anymore.

We were just about home when Barrett started feeling his pockets and said, "where's my phone?". You gotta be kidding me. So, thank God for the Find My iPhone app. We located it. On the side of the road, where we'd tried to help that darn dog!!

At this point, E's screaming in the backseat because she's starving. So I went home with her and Barrett headed back out to find his phone. Luckily, he found it and it was working. Unluckily, it had been run over by a car and was shattered.

Seriously. I can't make this stuff up! So, we had Wendy's for dinner and went to bed at 9:00. It was time for that day to be over! Happy New Year!

Christmas Poster

When I ordered our Christmas cards this year, I must have been a little sleepy/preoccupied/lazy. Instead of your average 5x7 card, I ordered the 6x8 accidentally. Oops! It doesn't seem like it would make that big of a difference, but boy does it!! I do love it though. Ellison's sweet face just makes me smile, and I'm happy it's gigantic. :-)

I added some of our outtakes from the photo session to the back. Trying to take Christmas card photos with a 3 month old and a chocolate lab is quite the comedy. We took probably 100 plus pictures and came out with one, just one, of us all looking at the camera! I think they are priceless. :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ellison's First Christmas

Can you believe it's January? Wow. This Christmas was so fun and so special. Ellison is obviously too young to really get it, but having a child in the house during the holiday season makes it much more magical.

Ellison's Christmas actually started back in September when I ordered us all new Pottery Barn stockings. I think they're just the sweetest things and I was ready to hang them up as soon as they arrived! I like that the PB styles are pretty classic and when it's time for baby number two (several years from now!) we will easily be able to add to our bunch.

Our next big event was picking out our tree. We just went up to a tree lot a mile or so from our house. It's the same place Barrett and I have gone for the last 5 years. It was 70+ degrees that day and it felt a little odd to be picking out our tree! Next year, I'd like to start a new tradition of driving up to the mountains to get a tree. I want to do the whole shebang...hayride, cocoa, carols. I'm excited already!

Ellison had her first homework project (more like Mama had a homework project) and we picked out little gifts for all of her teachers.

Then, Ellison met Santa! Every year, Santa comes to see our kids at the hospital. He. Is. Fabulous. Seriously...the real deal. So, I popped over to school and scooped her up to get her picture taken with Santa. Barrett was able to leave work early to come up, so we got a fun family picture with Santa and tons of really sweet pictures of E with the big man. It was good, quality Santa time and I'm so glad we decided to do it that way instead of seeing the mall Santa. I mean, how awesome is this guy?!


Our first celebration was the Saturday before Christmas. My mom, stepdad, sister, and her boyfriend came to spend the day with us, have lunch, exchange gifts, and snuggle E. We tried to do Secret Santa this year, but no one really followed the rules and we all pretty much bought for everyone anyway. Oh well. The more the merrier. :-)

We made a salt dough ornament to commemorate E's first Christmas.

We tried to catch all the good, classic Christmas movies when they came on TV.

We spent Christmas Eve at home, snuggled up in our pjs. My dad and stepmom sent Ellison a recordable Night Before Christmas book, so we sat together and listened to Paw Paw read us a story.

Christmas morning, our little family of four took our time getting out of bed. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and opened our gifts.


Barrett's mom came up from Florida to visit, so we spent early afternoon catching up with Nana and opening gifts.

Barrett's dad and stepmom joined us for dinner. Barrett cooked a gigantic delicious standing rib roast for us and his stepmom cooked everything else. It was so nice to not have to do anything! It was quite the change of pace for me because I'm usually the one doing all the work in the kitchen fit our get togethers. It was nice to pass over the reins for once! We had a wonderful evening.

I can't believe it's all over so fast! I know that as the years pass, Christmas will only get more and more fun. Only 350-ish days to go!