Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I can count that, right?

Okay, so I just went into the nursery to get Mal because she obviously wasn't going to take a nap. Jake was asleep, & she was talking loudly, so I thought I'd get her out of there in hopes of him getting some much needed sleep. When I reached her crib, she looked right at me, smiled & said, "Ma-ma!" Now, I'm not delusional enough to think that this was necessarily on purpose or that she has any clue what it means, but I'm SO counting it! Looks like me only practicing my own name with the kids may actually be paying off. J, of course practices "Da-da" with them all of the time, so maybe that will come soon. Here are some random pics of late.

This was before Ladies' bible class last week. Aren't Mal's shoes great? Thanks Nana!We've started practicing using sippy cups some. I just have water in them, & Jake usually blows into his, but they've each taken a sip or two.
Mal sharing while Jake tries to escape
Silly girl with her paci upside down. She had it like this when I went to get her up from her nap the other day & kept it like that for a while. It was really funny to see her grin & laugh while still keeping it in like this.
Could this kid be any better looking?
Sweet ones all bundled up for our chilly day of refrigerator shopping Saturday
Wrestling matches are very common in our house.
Just a sweet face
Funny, pretty girl
This series is of some of Jake's crazy faces. He was wound up the other night & J was able to capture some good ones.

Discussing life's mysteries, I'm sure

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oh no...I'm THAT Mom!

So far, I've been pretty tough as a parent. Letting the babies cry it out doesn't make me tear up. If anything, J & I usually end up laughing at them because their meltdown is totally fake. I really don't have too many emotional breakdowns. It's not difficult at all for me to leave my children with a babysitter for a few hours. I even handle shots pretty well. So imagine my surprise when, after dropping my kids off for their first ever nursery class at church this morning, I couldn't control the flow of tears. Even as I write this, the tears threaten to return. It wasn't that I thought I would miss them too terribly during the hour they'd be away from me, but nonetheless I felt the sting of tears in my eyes as I was walking away from the nursery. My babies are growing up! I was mad at myself for being so ridiculous & tried to pull it together, but as soon as someone asked if I was okay, the floodgates opened again. So yeah, that silly mom silently weeping in the corner on the first day of school? I guess that will be me.

Speaking of growing up, our little munchkins are becoming quite mobile. Between rolling & scooting, they can get into all kinds of things. Here's how I found them after leaving the room to put something away & coming back the other day. Mal made it underneath the coffee table, which she gleefully considers a major accomplishment.Jake had wrapped himself into a burrito with the play blanket. He uncovered his face before I could take a picture.
Just a little bit cute, aren't they?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fresh Air

We've been enjoying some warm weather lately in Dallas, & the kids are having fun getting to be outside more. The last couple of days have been rainy & cooler, but last week was beautiful. J came home on Friday in time to enjoy the weather with the twins.
My smiley boy
This is her "I'm so excited I can't take it!" face.
Her legs were in the air 90% of the time that she was playing outside.
We tried on Saturday to get a few posed shots in the back yard, but apparently grass is just way too exciting. I love that they both have the same expression here as they concentrate on pulling the grass.
Pure joy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adventures in Cooking

One of my hobbies that I thoroughly enjoy is cooking & baking for my family & friends. Lately, I've stepped out of my comfort zone a bit & am proud of myself, so I thought I would share. If nothing else, maybe it will encourage some of you to experiment with cooking as well.

First of all, this picture isn't really the point of the post, but it's food related, so it gets to be thrown in here. Doesn't zucchini baby food remind you of boogers? Seriously, if the babies knew what seasoned, non-blended food tasted like, there's no way they would eat this stuff!On to my actual topic. This was a new recipe I tried a couple of weeks ago for pork tacos. They weren't anything fancy, but J was super excited because he loves pork tacos, so that made me feel good. Don't you love it when someone shows genuine appreciation for something you do? He exclaimed that his plate was beautiful after I prepared it for him & proceeded to take a picture. So, no, we don't always photograph our food, but that's why we have this shot.
Now for my latest endeavor. I usually take J out to dinner for his birthday, but he insisted that we should just stay in to save money, so I asked him what he wanted for a birthday dinner. I was expecting a response involving either chicken or beef. Instead, he said, "You know what I would really like? A rack of lamb." Excuse me? So, being the sweet wife that I am, I consulted my cookbooks for a lamb recipe. I found a very simple one in Confessions of a Kitchen Diva. J's Aunt Debbie gave me this book several Christmases ago, & it is my absolute favorite resource. Every recipe I've tried from it has been wonderful.

So, I had a recipe, but where does one buy lamb? I usually do my grocery shopping at Super Target, & I was quite confident that they didn't sell lamb. I called some nearby meat markets & finally found one in Plano that carried it. The kids & I trekked over to Hirsch's Specialty Meats & purchased our rack of lamb. This is where I got very lucky. The trickiest part of preparing lamb is trimming the meat & frenching the bones that extend up from the lamb chops. The rack that I bought just happened to come pre-frenched, so I didn't have to lift a finger. All I did was prepare the seasonings, rub them on the meat & then roast it. Pretty, huh?
I rounded out the meal with garlic mashed potatoes, brown sauce for the lamb, sweet & sour green beans, yeast rolls & lemon icebox pie for dessert. It was a success! I had never had lamb, but it was actually quite tasty, & Justin was pleased. The yeast rolls were my other accomplishment. I had never made them before, but they were easy & they made a ton, so I now have some in the freezer.
So, go ahead, find your inner kitchen diva. She's in there somewhere. I'll leave you with a super easy but tasty recipe I found recently in a Gooseberry Patch crockpot cookbook. Who doesn't love throwing everything into the crockpot & forgetting about it all day while you get other things done?

Saucy Beef & Vegetables

2-3 lbs beef round steak, coarsely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced
2 C carrots, peeled & chopped
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 1/2 oz pkg spaghetti sauce mix
15 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce

Place meat in a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients in order listed. Cover & cook on low setting for 8 hours. Serve over white rice. Makes 6-8 servings.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break in Paris (Texas, of course)

My parents are both in education, so they were off work last week for spring break. The kids & I headed up to Paris for a couple days of fun with Nana & Papa. We had a great time!

Mallory has become a thumb sucker & even does the cute finger over the nose thing. I have always cringed at the thought of either of them sucking their thumbs because I don't want to deal with breaking them of it, but what can you do? She doesn't suck it all of the time & is still majorly attached to her paci, but she likes the thumb, too.
My nephew Brody is almost six years old & had lots of fun playing with the babies. On our previous visits, he has been a little cautious around them, but they're big enough to play with him more now.

Nana showed Mal how to give Brody a back massage.
Gotta love happy hour at Sonic! Notice Brody's blue lips from his Ocean Water.
Jake & Mal both thought Brody was just hilarious & watched him constantly.
Nana & Papa with the munchkins
Thanks for a great visit!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Seven Months Old!

I'm a few days late on this post, but the kids & I have been in Paris (Texas, of course) visiting my parents for a couple of days. Our sweet babies are getting so big!One of Jake's favorite games - steal Mal's bow!
Jake seems to be our more chilled out kiddo. He smiles all day long & is such a charmer. At seven months, he weighs 15 pounds exactly. Jake has started scooting some when he's on his belly, but he hasn't made it up onto his hands & knees yet.

Mallory is our little wild child. She grins big when she wants to, but she's also the queen of cold stares. This little lady is LOUD! Her shrieks & screams are deafening, & she is starting to use them to throw little fits, so that should be fun in the future. She now weighs 14 lb 10 oz.

Here are a few more snapshots of our cuties.

This look says, "Yeah, I know I'm handsome."
The basketball goal is a new favorite at our house.
Relaxing with Daddy before their evening bottle
These next few are from bath time Saturday night. They just looked so adorable that we couldn't resist a little photo op.

Mommy's angels

The focus is off on this one, but I loved their smiles.
This is Jake's concentrated look. He's going for Mal's bow, as usual.