Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tour of the South - Part 2

We just got back from a week and a half tour of Tennessee with our friends and had a great time! It was so nice to be able to see so much of the family, relax a bit, and enjoy so many fun activities! Traveling with two 2 year olds and a teething baby limits how many cute pictures you are able to get, but here are a few we managed to snag!

I got some great pictures of David's family!

David's grandmother gave Jessica a porcelain doll. David's mom and I both thought she was nuts giving a two year old a porcelain doll, but she LOVES it and has been very careful with it!

David's sister was even in town with her boyfriend! I didn't get a good shot of her boyfriend, but I have to say....he is pretty awesome with babies!

Jessica had a great time wandering around the zoo with Pa Pa!

Jessica being Jessica!

Looking at all the animals with Pa Pa.

I thought the fall leaves were just gorgeous!

I would just like to point out that this is my dad's natural hair color.....I have AWESOME genes!!!!!

Our friends joined us, and our first stop was Graceland!

This was my first trip to Graceland. What impressed me the most was how generous and modest (considering how extravagant he could have been) Elvis was.

Enjoying banana splits at Graceland!

Best friends at the Enchanted Forest at the Pink Palace Museum (It is a museum of natural and local history).

Jessica actually ran up to give Santa a hug this year!!!! The first year she screamed bloody murder, and the second year she was very uncertain about the entire experience!

Jessica told Santa she wanted a "pumpkin" for Christmas, and Jessica's friend told Santa she wanted a "real tyrannosaurus rex" for Christmas. Santa seemed confused by Jessica's request and gave Jessica's friend the "sometimes we don't always get what we ask for" speech.

Next stop was the Children's Museum! Jessica went down the second story twisting tube slide for the first time by herself (It is supposed to only be for kids 4 and older, but I decided that rule didn't apply to us!)

This is the only picture of the girls together at the museum because they preferred completely opposite activities!!

However, Jessica did actually try out some other exhibits this time outside of the traditional visits to the Fire truck, police car, and Autozone! Here she is dancing in front of a green screen!!

She also went shopping at the Kroger (her mother's favorite exhibit) for the first time. The basket said to only get 3 items....I decided that rule didn't apply to us either! :-)

John also enjoyed the toddler section at the Children's Museum. Mom and Dad bought a pass, and I think both John and Jessica will really enjoy going back when we are up for Christmas!

Jessica also tried out the dentist exhibit for the first time! Pa Pa seemed pleased!

We obviously know how to brush our teeth!

Then we had to take the traditional visits to the home improvement section!

Dad had the camera and actually managed to get a few shots with me and John in them as well!

Then it was time for the trip to the Autozone. Jessica was very frustrated that she could not find the key to the Cadillac so she could drive!

So she moved on to the simulator!

John and Pa Pa spent some time bonding while John napped and I chased Jessica!

Jessica also enjoyed flying the Fed Ex jet!

Here we are at Zoo Lights....not a great shot but it was better than the other one!

All 3 kids were passed out by the time we got back!!

Other things we did while in Memphis: watch The Little Mermaid every night, went on a driving tour of Downtown, and made a stop by The Village Toymaker, aka the BEST toy store in Memphis!

The girls also created a new game where the jump up and down on my bed, playing the piano, and singing "1-2-1-2-1-2..."

Then they both fall over backwards and dissolve into giggles!

John also enjoyed very very shallow baths in the big tub on his tummy because he splashes too much for the sinks but he can't sit up well enough for me to be able to hold him AND bath him!

John also enjoyed some bonding time with MaMa!

Then it was off to Nashville, where MaMa got to read to Jessica for the first time! MaMa has been wanting to read to Jessica for a while, but we could never get her to sit still long enough!!!

Both Jessica and her first enjoyed hearing about Patsy Ann!

We also took a trip to the Opryland Hotel that recently reopened and enjoyed a boat ride (with 3 children under 3....yes, we know we are crazy)!

Other highlights from our Nashville portion of the trip include: seeing the Hermitage, Thanksgiving with my dad's family, and attending a Marionette show by the same troop that I saw when I was a little girl that has been performing since 1938! Jessica even sat for half of the performance! The other half of the performance we spent in the art room across the hall coloring and painting! I do wish we had something like that here!

Then it was off to Gatlinburg! If you only have one day, I think the best way to get a good taste of the area is to go to Dollywood. They have rides and fun things to do, great food, cultural shows, and cute shops with artisans! Jessica actually enjoyed riding the carousal!!! Last time she cried the whole time!

A great shot of our friends!

Jessica and her friend riding a duck ride all by themselves!!

Jessica and her friend riding a flying bee ride all by themselves! (Thankfully they did not stand up until the ride mostly stopped!)

And a classic Jessica shot! (And yes, the ride was still moving.)

We had a great time but are glad to be home! Right now I am busy trying to finish getting everything ready for Christmas and another trip to Tennessee for the holidays!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homemade Baby Food

I made all of Jessica's baby food when she was little, and now that John is 6 months old (or will be in a few days), I am making baby food again. I have five reasons for doing this: 1) I make most of our food from scratch so why wouldn't I make the baby's food from scratch? 2) It is cheaper to puree up a bit of our dinner before adding the seasonings than buying a jar of baby food. 3) I know what's in it! 4) I have learned a lot about how to cook different types of vegetables that I don't typically use! 5)I have heard some people report that children are more likely to be good eaters if they have been introduced to the huge variety of foods/textures that you can create when you make your own baby food --- I am not entirely certain that is accurate, but Jessica has been an excellent eater, so I am going with it!

I have started both kids out teething on carrot (and sometimes celery) sticks. Jessica went straight to rice mixed with breastmilk and loved it! John was a little uncertain of the texture (I am guessing), so we switched gears and started him on carrots since he was already familiar with the taste. He LOVES it!!! After having a couple successful meals of carrots, then we will try adding the carrots to the rice and see if we can't get past the odd texture! My absolute favorite resource for making baby food is www.wholesomebabyfood.com It has all kinds of information on how to cook all types of vegetables, at what age different foods will be comfortable for baby's sensitive tummy, and even how to make baby cereal! For the most part it has followed very closely to the recommendations I have gotten from pediatricians and nutritionists. On a side note: I do try to make sure I give my babies Poly-Vi-Sol at this age to make sure they are getting enough iron since I do not use the fortified, prepackaged cereals.

John's meals for the next however long it takes him!! :-)

One of the things most people wonder is "Do you need any special equipment to do this?" The answer is no. That being said, I do LOVE my magic bullet, but you don't need anything. You can use a fork or potato masher, which is what I do when I go to a restaurant. We often pack a bowl with a banana and avocado to mash up in the restaurant! You can see in the picture that I have some special baby food freezer containers that my mom bought me. You don't have to have those either. I like having them for the first couple months before they start eating much, but once they start eating more, I just use regular freezer containers! I enjoy cooking tasty, healthy meals for my family, and it is fun for me to be able to provide homemade "first meals" for my little ones!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Plague

We have all been stricken with what we believe to be a roto virus. It has been absolutely gross and awful. We are on week two of this. The timing wasn't great because David doesn't have any real time to take off, but we are making it work. I am currently scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing the house to try and scrub out all of the germs! Will return when we have vanquished the roto virus or whatever awful plague has laid siege to our house!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


We've had several new "firsts" at our house over the past week!

John's first taste of homemade rice cereal.

I started Jessica on cereal at 6 months because that is when babies loose the reflex to push things out with their tongues. She took to it like a duck to water! We started John on rice cereal several weeks earlier than Jessica (because he kept trying to grab all of the food off the table) and most of it ended up on the bib! I am sure he will be a pro by next month once that reflex dissipates!

John's first time swinging outside. (It was Jessica's idea!)

Getting a cute picture of Jessica and John at the same time is like trying to herd cats!

John is getting to be such a big boy!!! He will be in a size 12 months before we know it!! He is always very happy...unless he is tired!! He also loves to talk and be talked to! Also he has recently taken an interest in toys! So far his favorites are: the mirror/bug toys on his bouncer seat, the mirror/animal toys on his walker, the toy on the bebe pod, and a Bright Starts Musical Sea Turtle.....we had borrowed one from a friend and he liked it so well that I ordered him one on ebay.....apparently it wasn't very popular because it is not available anymore! Mostly, he likes any toy with eyeballs!!! Unlike Jessica, John seems to have my interests! He loves playing all of the little games my parents used to play with me! He is a very easy baby who loves to snuggle and talk to you! He also has a spectacular laugh and adores his big sister Jessica!!! John, may you always bring as much joy and laughter to others as you bring to our family! We love you baby boy!