Wednesday, June 24, 2015

11 Months!

At each of these "month" posts for Heidi I always think to myself, "What more could she possibly do in this next month to make an entire blog post for?" because it always seems like so much has changed in the previous month that there couldn't possibly be that many more changes. But there always are. Each month she just grows and grows so much that it's just incredible.

In this past month my parents came to visit and she has really moved from an occasional walker to primarily walking. And really, trying to run. She loves to walk behind things, like pushing strollers. She also loves to be moving and climbing and crawling on top of things. She is perhaps the most fearless person I have ever seen and I am glad that she does not have the ability to decide to go ziplining or bungee jumping, because I am sure that she would.

Heidi has become much more aware lately of toys and a righteous sense of "mine". She will now fight back at Sophia if Sophia takes something out of her hand. I can usually tell if something like that has happened if I am in a different room because Heidi will let out quite the scream. So we have had to balance telling Sophia that she can't just take things from her sister and communicating to Heidi that it is not okay to screech at everything.

Over the past week Heidi has also become aware of what "daycare" means. The last couple of mornings she has started crying as soon as I get her in the car in the morning because she knows where are going somewhere that I am leaving her. She will also cry quite a bit when I am dropping her off. It breaks my heart into pieces.

She is learning too quickly how to crawl up onto objects. She will crawl right up onto the kids ikea chair that we have and bounce herself on the end of it. She will also crawl up onto Sophia's bed and bounce around.  We also learned that she is completely capable of crawling all of the way up the slide on the playset at Oma and Papa's house; she was being held really just so that she didn't fall over the side, but she climbed her little self up onto the bottom of the slide and walked all the way up to the top. Yikes!!!

Heidi has a VERY healthy appetite. I have never seen or heard of a child who could eat so much. I am fairly certain that she eats about double of what Sophia eats. For example, the other morning for breakfast she had a pancake and a 6 oz yogurt. Then she later had an orange and a banana and half a sandwich. And she had a snack of berries. And for dinner she ate about double of Sophia's portion. And a cup or two of breastmilk mixed in there (she won't take it from the bottle anymore). So far, she will eat just about everything too, except still shredded cheese. Must be a texture thing because she eats every other kind of cheese. I'm not entirely sure where she has room for all of the food, but the expression "you must have hollow legs" applies to my child.

I think Heidi has also 'officially' established a favorite "lovey" over the past month (I think it's been unofficially pooh bear for a little while). My in-laws got her a fuzzy little stuffed pooh bear, probably about 8 or 9" tall, from Disney World the last time they were there. It is, naturally, something that you can buy only at the theme park so much to Chris' delight, I cannot ridiculously stock up like I did with Sophia and her pig bears. The original idea with Sophia was just to have a back up or two and then have it be interchangeable, and that way if one was lost or missing or needed washed it wouldn't be a big deal. It started out nicely, but of course now she does still have favorites, and the rest she likes to haul around from room to room to play with them. Anyway, with Heidi I don't think we'll be able to do that. But it is quite precious, she will cuddle up that little bear and just snuggle with it at night. And lately she has been walking around with it during the day and holding it like a baby, patting its back. At dinner the other night she was holding it while she was sitting in her high chair and when Chris tried to take it away so it didn't get dirty from eating she clamped down her grip and gave him a look. She is also in the process of teething, so I think it's comforting to her. Right now she has two bottom teeth, and the top left one came in about a week and a half ago and now the second top one has really just burst through over the past 2 days. Poor thing had fevers and was fussy, this one was not a fun time!

Heidi has really been weaning herself, and quite quickly! She has been running the show here. She is now only really nursing at night-time before bed, starting 2 days ago. I still give her some breastmilk in the morning at breakfast and some either at lunch or in the afternoon but warmed up in a sippy cup, because she just won't take a bottle anymore. I still have plenty of milk too, and this is after donating several (!) gallons of it. I really had a deep freezer full (literally, full) but knew we wouldn't go through all of that, especially with her not having interest in a bottle. Last night when I was nursing her at night I was starting to feel a little nostalgic; this may be the last little bit of time that I spend nursing my baby! Once I drop down to once a day  my milk supply goes quickly, so I don't think we'll have much longer of nighttime nursing. It's amazing how quickly this time passes by.

I thank God daily for my sweet, spicy, full-of-energy and fun little baby girl. Just like when I had Sophia, I can't imagine my family now without Heidi and the personality that she brings to it. Children truly are such a blessing from the Lord!

Pinterest Cooking - Parmesan Day

I was at Costco shopping, which is probably my favorite place to shop...for groceries or otherwise... and decided to buy a block of parmesan cheese. It just seems to me that I run into so many recipes that call for this particular type of cheese and I never have it, so I thought I'd get ahead of the game and pick some up.

Because I had the parmesan, I looked on my pinterest board "Dinner Ideas" for a dinner recipe that called for parmsan, because I was sure that there had to be one.

Sure enough, Parmesan Chicken Bake came up. Then, because we had fresh asparagus from the Farmer's Market (thank you, Erica!) I searched "asparagus" and the first recipe that came up was "Parmesan Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes". Perfect. Finally, I needed to make either potatoes or rice for a starch and decided on rice because it is generally faster. So, again, I searched rice and the first recipe that came up was "Creamy Parmesan Rice". It was meant to be. Apparently, dinner is going to be Parmesan Cheese themed.

I'll start with the

Parmesan Chicken Bake
  • 4-5 Chicken breasts
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated or grated, but not the powdered stuff)
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt (I didn't have this; I used a steak seasoning salt instead, worked out well!!)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
Preheat oven to 375 and spray a pan with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the chicken inside of the pan.
Mix the remaining ingredients and speread evenly over the chicken, covering all of the raw meat. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Note: I think that the next time I make this I will let the chicken sit in the remaining ingredients and marinade for a little bit. I also added a little extra cheese on top when there was 10 minutes left and let it melt in.

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

  • 1/2 lb asparagus
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 (I did 375 because this is what I had the chicken baking at and it turned out quite well). Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. I used an 8x8. Remove the bottom 1 to 1.5 inches of the asparagus and place in the dish (I had to lay them diagonally to fit - try a larger pan if need be!) and then slice the tomatoes in half and place them next to the asparagus (I did tomatoes on each corner with the asparagus in the middle). Season with salt, pepper, and sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 15 minutes.

Next time I make this I will do it with the balsamic reduction. Ran out of time/energy this time! For the Balsamic reduction, cook balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over med heat for 15 to 20 minutes until it reduces and starts to thicken. Pour over the asparagus, tomatoes.

and finally,

Creamy Parmesan Rice

  • 2T butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (I used instant rice.. I know, I know. It's just what I had)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c grated parmesan cheese (not powdered)
Sauce garlic in butter in medium saucepan for 3-4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat in butter. Then add water, salt and milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes (or until rice is tender), stirring occasionally. Stir in the parmesan cheese, add salt and pepper to taste.


It was surprisingly not over parmesan-y considering every dish involved parmesan.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Saga Continues, III

If you read the previous post with the same title (specifically, "Big Week and The Saga Continues, II), you'll know that Chris has been pursuing military chaplaincy for quite some time now and prior to this post had just received word that he was approved into the military chaplaincy program.

Well, this past week, on Thursday, June 4th, Chris offically signed paperwork, was fingerprinted, and took the Oath to join the Air Force.


It was really quite nice. My parents were in town, so Chris' parents, my parents, and both girls (along with Chris and myself) were all filed into the recruiter's office for the procedure. It was really quite cool, and I have it mostly on video (Heidi would not allow for the entire recording) which I would love to post but I don't think that I can post videos on blogger.

This journey has been going on for 7-8 months (or, 7 years, depending on where you start).  From what he read, this may actually be shorter than average as typically the application for Chaplain Candidate can take closer to 9-12 months.

Next steps? This is what we still don't know yet. But that's not entirely different compared to the rest of the process so far.

Apparently there are a couple of options. He had signed up to take Greek this fall, but there is COT (Commissioned Office Training - I am so cool that I get to add more abbreviations to my lexicon) this August that he may be able to take yet. The pros to taking COT this summer: splitting up the away time. That means 5 weeks gone this summer, 7 next summer instead of 12 weeks gone next summer. Also just getting a head start in getting involved!  The advantage to waiting is that he would be able to take Greek (if he goes to COT this summer he would have to miss the first 3 weeks of class, so Greek is out), and when he does the second half of training in the summer it would be with the same cohort that he was with for the first couple of weeks. Kind of weighing the pros and cons here, but he did give the go-ahead saying if they were able to take him this summer he'd go. 

Right now we are waiting and praying on God's timing. What God wills, is what we'll do. I just need to take to heart 2 Thess 5:17 and PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Birthday Visit!

Nana and Papa just visited our house from the end of May through the first week of June. They had spend the previous week and a half or so with Aunt Meghan to see Baby Claire for the first time. They stopped on the way through here in Ohio to spend some time with Aunt Susan and Uncle Dave and then they drove on up this way.  Their trip overall was over 6,000 miles! Wow!

Apparently, for a fun fact, the only place that tea is grown in the United States is in South Carolina. They brought me some USA grown peach tea! Yum.

Driving, of course, means that some of the storage in their house was uprooted and landed in my house. My Felicity American Girl doll was brought to me! Yay! It was a blast looking through all of her stuff.

The first morning they were here Mom and I went to the Farmer's Market in St. Paul and loaded up with some delicious goodies: salsa, fresh veggies, dipping sauces, and, of course, doughnuts. Then we went to the Arsenal game at The Local, the FA Cup final, actually, where Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0!! The cheering in the pub was deafening, especially for the first goal. The afternoon was spent doing some estate sale shopping (which is probably the most fun ever).

I think the highlight of the trip for me was having my parents here on my birthday. The day started with delicious cinnamon pull-aparts from Kowalski's (which I highly recommend). Mom and I spent the afternoon shopping (without children! I tried on clothes at my own pace!) and then went to a yoga sculpt class in the evening. I had a birthday lunch of chicken kebabs, and a delicious chocolate lovers ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (which Sophia picked out for me). It was a great birthday!

Sophia's birthday was also celebrated when they were here, but unfortunately was celebrated without Papa. It was quite sad actually. I think my Dad has been looking forward to "Toddler Tuesday" since my Mom was here and they did the Toddler Tuesday theme park thing in March. He kept talking about taking Sophia on the rides, and Sophia kept talking about it too because she just LOVED going on the rides and couldn't wait to go again.  Monday evening, Papa was reaching under the sink to grab something and threw out his back, and basically couldn't walk on Tuesday. Poor Papa had to stay home and rest, but Nana, Sophia, Heidi and myself went to the mall and had a great time at Toddler Tuesday!

Nana and Sophia rode lots of rides, then we had lunch at the American Girl Bistro in the store (this time, without the throwing up!). However, this time there were other issues; we got there at 11:30 hoping to beat the lunch rush and were told we had to have a reservation (even though there was only 3-4 tables taken... okay). So we made a reservation for 12:30 and went shopping for an hour - Sophia picked out her birthday present for her Baby Anna (an adorable cupcake set and tea-time outfit set) and then we went back up to lunch. We were seated at 12:30 and I think there was a miscommunication about whose responsibility we were because there wasn't a single person that came by, for drinks or anything, until 12:50. This may not seem like a long time, but 20 minutes with a starving baby and a hungry toddler is a long time. Heidi was just about to lose it, and, in fact to the casual observer, it may have seemed like she did lose it. She has been going through a growth spurt too, so it is almost impossible to keep enough food in her tummy. Anywho, they eventually did bring lunch and Heidi ate all of the macaroni and cheese on her plate, as well as some of Sophia's french fries and an entire banana (she MUST have hollow legs...aren't baby tummies the size of a plum??).

After lunch we did more rides. I rode a couple of them with Sophia this time, but my stomach is not what it used to be for those. After we did the swings I was just about to lose the adorable lunch I had eaten and had to rest for a bit. Such a weakling! So Nana had ride duty again :) Then we hit the Disney store, the OTHER favorite place, and Sophia picked out a Minnie Mouse swimsuit with matching cover up and swim shoes. We can't wait to hit the beach! It happens to match the swim towel and sunglasses that Erica bought for her birthday. She is going to be one stylin' kid at the beach this year.  Then we picked out some matching 4th of July dresses for the girls' (if i could, I would do their ENTIRE summer wardrobe of red, white and blue outfits - LOVE those!) before heading to Ikea so that Sophia could pick out some bulk candies. It was her birthday celebration - so to Ikea we went!

Papa was just about healed on Wednesday. I had to work so I can't speak much to what went on that day. Thursday was an exciting day - garage sales in the morning (I found a great little curio/wall decor thing) and  then in the afternoon we all went to see Chris take his oath and swear in with the Air Force at the base! Yay Daddy! (More details on this later). It was fun having my parents, his parents, and both girls there. Sophia pretty much crashed and burned, I think it was on Thursday night. She had been having just so much fun this week I think it started to catch up to her, and while she was going potty before bed she was just crying and crying and crying. But, she did sleep well!

On Friday I had to work again but Nana and Papa went with the girls to the Children's museum in St. Paul. It looked like they had just a grand time (except, of course, for the loads and loads of school field-trip kids that happened to come in the late morning). Then we attempted to get some pictures of all of them together on Friday evening because this is something that I am generally terrible about and always regret later. This had mixed results. I mean, we did get pictures, with all four of them in it... but I don't think there is one with everybody smiling. Ah well. I think Heidi managed to grow about 2 inches during their visit here, and she is also walking a lot more and has grown in a top tooth with a second one on the way.

It is always a little bittersweet when my parents come to visit because at some point, the visit comes to an end. This trip continued on in that pattern, and eventually (actually, rather too quickly) Saturday morning came and they had to head back to Utah. It really was so nice having them here. I am already looking forward to Mom's next visit (she just sent me an e-mail with the booked tickets - July 21!!) - she's going to be here over Heidi's first birthday which will be really special. It's a good problem to have I suppose; some people don't know their parents or their parents have passed on or want to avoid their parents. My parents are so awesome that I can't get enough of them visiting, and they are able to come out usually several times a year which is just great. (Don't tell Mom, but I am hoping it will be possible for her to come stay for a bit while Chris is at COT - that would be ideal. And awesome.)  Praise God for godly and excellent role models of parents, and who are wonderful grandparents to their sweet granddaughters.

Happy because Arsenal won 4-0!!

All ready with squeaky shoes on and all!

When's my turn??

The ridiculously cute starter at the American Girl store!

Heidi ate ALL of that macaroni and cheese. And a whole banana. And some of Sophia's fries. Nom nom nom...

Mommy went on this ride with Sophia and then had to be done for the day because I am not young anymore!

Both babies, the real one passed out!

At Ikea after the MOA! Birthday girl request.

Long day garage sailing before Daddy's oath!

He gets to play in finger paint!?

Sophia the turtle

Snuggle time with Nana!

A small sampling. Took about 50 of these pictures trying to get one to turn out!

The morning Mom and Dad left. Both girls up at 5 a.m., and snuggling in bed with us

Saying Hi to Nana and Papa after they left

The cute matching 4th of July dresses!

Heidi's yoga pose...

...and Sophia's yoga pose