Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Week in Photos

 The babygirl got some lovin' from Kelly last weekend; she was a very happy pup indeed.

 I call this one, 'August in Repose.'

 Hot cocoa with hot cocoa-inspired popcorn.  Soooo good!

 How many Diegos does it take to make a cup of coffee?  We had several cousins over for lunch last Sunday, and JP got to play barista.

 Bathtime!  August has graduated out of the kitchen sink tub and into the big boy tub.  He's growing up so fast!

 He is happy indeed.

 We had our first family photo shoot last Saturday, in the same park as our maternity session.  So nice to have the little man with us this time!

 It snowed in ATL on Wednesday morning!  Ok, more like flurries, but it totally counts for this Florida girl.

Hein made August his own stocking!  It is nearly as big as he is.  I love this.

My only picture from our first Thanksgiving with August.  I think it's appropriate.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

What I am grateful for in 2013
Being closer to my wonderful, supportive, caring, patient family
Publix subs
Our home, which is cozy and personal in its imperfections
Trader Joe's mocha cappuccino mix
My in-laws, the only family that rivals my own for being so fiercely loving
A sweet, alert pup who loves our new pack member
My healthy, capable, strong body
The seven consecutive hours of sleep I got on Monday night
Parents who couldn't be more awesome and go out of their way to be sweet
A sister who is indescribably amazing 
And most importantly, my own little family.  
I am so grateful and lucky to be August's mama.  
I couldn't love my husband more. 

Happy Thanksgiving.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Last Minute Toffee

One of my favorite things to pick up at Trader Joe's is their dark chocolate pistachio toffee.  It is absolutely to die for: perfectly salty, sweet, crunchy, rich.  The process of making toffee has always kind of intimidated me, as it involves a candy thermometer and crazy-hot butter and sugar, plus I feel like clean-up is awful with that stuck to the pan.
On Monday night, though, I needed to make something for my nursing group's Thanksgiving treat exchange.  I'm a bit over cookies for the time being, and have to make three pies for Thursday, so wanted a new challenge.  While flipping through the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I summoned the courage to try this toffee recipe.  The ingredient list is pretty manageable (though I adjusted it a bit for what I had in the house), and the steps just didn't seem that daunting.  Thank goodness I did!  This toffee is absolutely delicious, and would probably be even better if you followed Deb's instructions.  Mine worked out pretty well, though, so don't be afraid to make a few subtle adjustments, if needed.  The main difference is that the book recipe and web recipe (which I link to below) have differing amounts of butter; I went with the book amount, which was only half of what is actually called for online.  Still tasty, but I'm sure it would be even more decadent with double the butter.

Last Minute Toffee (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
8 Tbsp. butter (1 stick)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. molasses
1/4 tsp. flaky sea salt (I used pink himalayan)
1 1/4 c. dark chocolate chunks
1/2 c. pistachio halves

1. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.
2. In a medium heavy saucepan with candy thermometer attached, melt butter, sugars, molasses, and salt.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk until temperature approaches 250 degrees, then stir constantly until it reaches 300 degrees.
3. Pour immediately onto prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with chocolate.  Let sit for a minute to melt while you fill your now-empty saucepan with hot water so it's easier to clean.  Use an offset spatula to spread chocolate over toffee. Add pistachios and let sit overnight, or until hardened.
4. Break into smallish pieces, package, and be ready for compliments.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Week in Photos

 A sweet smile from the little man to his papa during an outfit change.

 August started getting baths in the big boy tub this week, and he loves it.  This kid is part merman!

 JP is super eager for him to start standing; we're still working on sitting up, so I think we have some time to kill first.

 We got a book about cupcakes from the library last week, and August isn't quite sure how he felt about it.  Regardless, this picture has three of my favorite things in it: books, cupcakes, and that sweet face.

 My dad was in town for a hot second last weekend!  He claimed to be drawn up to north Georgia for furniture he found on Craigslist, but I think his grandson had something to do with it, too...

 Goofy boy!

 First Star Wars book.  Think he'll be a Jedi next year for Halloween?

And, finally, a video of August trying to eat his stuffed owl rattle.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Batkid Steals the Show

Have y'all seen this adorable, heartwarming story about Batkid?  Every article I've read about Miles has brought me to tears.  What a wonderful and necessary reminder of the importance of celebrating the good.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lactation Cookies

This recipe is gold in my kitchen.  I can't tell you how many of these chocolate chip cookies I've eaten since August came onto the scene; it's probably for the best that the number remain a mystery.  Let's just leave it that easily over 10 dozen have been made, and I'm the only lactating woman in the house.
However, I would like to state that, if you are not a nursing mama, these cookies will not have you leaking through your shirt.  Let's just get that out of the way.  The rumor is that brewer's yeast, oatmeal, and flaxseed are all great to increase a nursing mom's milk supply; the B12 in oatmeal is awesome, lots of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed, and the yeast has lots of iron, protein, and other B vitamins.  The lactation consultant who leads my nursing group said that, while all of that is good, the biggest thing about lactation cookies is that they give moms the extra calories they may be missing.  Breastfeeding requires about 500 extra calories a day to maintain weight, so these cookies can help you out if you're under that.
Plus, they are totally delicious.  There are lots of recipes online if you google it, but this is my favorite.  I like to mix up the extras; this time, I added chocolate chips, shredded coconut, peanut butter chips, and pistachios.  Weird, but it totally works.  You can also try dried cranberries, almonds, I've even substituted granola for the oatmeal.  Make it your own!
And, if the whole brewer's yeast isn't for you, you can leave it out.  It adds a nice heartiness to the cookies, though, so give it a shot before automatically saying no.

Lactation Cookies (adapted from Mama Say What)
1 c. softened butter (can substitute coconut oil)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. flaxseed
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour (can use whole wheat or all-purpose)
1tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. brewer's yeast
3 c. rolled oats (not instant)
1.5 c. mix-ins (chocolate chips, dried cranberries, nuts, peanut butter chips, coconut, etc.)

1. Beat butter and sugars in standing mixer until pale and fluffy.  Add in flaxseed, eggs, and vanilla; beat until combined.
2. Slowly beat in flour, baking soda, salt, brewer's yeast and oats.  Once combined, remove mixer from stand, and stir in mix-ins.
3. Use an ice cream scoop to drop batter onto baking sheet, and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, until golden.  Cool for 5 minutes before devouring.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Week in Photos

 The second JP gets home, he heads straight for August; I love watching their relationship grow.  He's such a hands-on father!

 August is just one of the boys at a barbecue lunch last Saturday.

 We went to the King of Pops Field Day on Sunday, and it was so much fun!  They're a local popsicle company, and have a fan appreciation day when it gets chilly to commemorate the end of the season; it felt like such a treat to spend the day with free frozen treats and good friends.  We met up with our wonderful friend Kelly, who is one of August's favorite people here in Atlanta.

 And we also hung out with JP's cousins, Olga and Chester!  Sweet newlyweds.

The little man was very happy listening to the cover band performing Creedence Clearwater Revival while sitting in Papa's lap.  

The Diego family.  

 We recently rearranged our living room, and the downstairs changing table is right up against the couch aka at Mia's level.  She is thrilled to have this kind of access to August!

 He has a new favorite toy.  It's pretty adorable to watch him get excited when I bring it out for him.

Nothing about this outfit matches, but it's still one of my favorites.

 Sweet, sleepy boy.

 Sometimes he holds onto me while he's eating, and my heart bursts a little bit.  Those cute pudgy fingers...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I've Become My Mother

My mom sent me this saying recently because of a phone call we shared on Monday morning.
On Sunday evening, JP and I watched the Game of Thrones pilot (yes, we are truly behind on the times).  (Have you watched it?  I'd be curious to hear single ladies vs. mom's views on the episode.)  I realize that GoT is on HBO, so is bound to have a lot of sex and violence.  I totally don't have a problem with the nudity and consensual sex on TV (non-consensual is another issue...), but I really took offense with the casual tone of violence.  Much more so than I would have before August was born.  At the end of the pilot episode, a young boy is pushed out of a window, presumably to his death.
I turned to JP and said, 'Well, I certainly can't watch this show.  And I don't think this should be entertaining!  He was just a kid!' blah blah blah, you see my point.
On Monday morning, I had to call my mom to tell her that exchange.  You see, my mom is the original woman who can't watch something because of the violence.  She would casually leave the room when graphic scenes came up on movies or TV shows, and openly voice her disapproval of certain things being shown because they were unpleasant.  I used to think to myself, 'What a sissy!  It's part of the story, the human condition, etc.'
It has finally coalesced for me.  I didn't really get it before August was born, but my hormones have completely shifted, and I don't see the pleasure of watching something that shows violence towards children (it's why I had to stop following Sons of Anarchy).  Or a person dying and leaving a child behind.  I WEPT during a recent viewing of JJ Abrams' Star Trek's opening scene; don't even get me started on the first 10 minutes of Olympus Has Fallen or, God forbid, UP.  I can't help but picture my own little man being in that situation, and my heart just aches thinking about it.
Have any of you mamas found that your entertainment taste changed post-baby?  Has it gone back to normal?  I wonder if I'll ever enjoy my old favorites again!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pumpkin Bread (with Chocolate Chips!)

Hey guys, I feel silly stating the obvious, but it's definitely pumpkin season.  Maybe you've seen the insane number of pumpkin spice lattes being advertised?  I can never fully get behind them- far too sweet and overmarketed for me.  Which isn't to say that I don't enjoy pumpkin; when pureed, it adds  moistness for a bread that suits the fall perfectly.  This recipe is divine with a cup of earl grey tea in the afternoon, or a pat of butter for breakfast.  It will keep for days, and even makes two loaves!  When it comes to pumpkin, think outside the cup.

Pumpkin Bread (with Chocolate Chips!)  (from Babycenter Blog)
3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
3/4 c. Greek yogurt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 c. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
3. In a separate medium bowl, combine sugars, then add yogurt, eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined.  Add chocolate chips, then divide batter between two greased 9x5 loaf pans.  Bake 50-60 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Week in Photos

 August got to enjoy the Real Madrid soccer game with his papa last Saturday; he was entranced!

Aunt Ana got August this wooden toy for his baptism, and he is mesmerized by it.  Although he doesn't want to put it in his mouth or play with it, he loves watching it while in his swing.  Good gift!

We had a great Monday morning: story time at the library with Miss Angie, checking out the fish at the pet store after, and then a walk around our neighborhood with Miss Mia.  He was a little unsure about the fish, although he loved checking out the black ones.  (I think the neon fish on the right side were a little hard for him to focus on.)  This kid's a cheap date!

Last weekend, JP and I bought August this 'water mat.'  It's a whale that you fill with water, and there are several sea creatures that 'swim' around inside when you move it around or shake it.  He's a bit iffy about it, but we are totally baffled.  How did the animals get inside the whale?  Did he eat them?  If so, why do they look so happy?  If he didn't eat them, how did they come to live within him?  And how big is this whale?!  There's an octopus in this thing!  
The unanswered questions of children's toys...

The sweetest smile during one of his feedings.  I just love how dimpled his cheeks are!

August discovered his reflection in the mirror last week!  Oh my goodness, how cute is it when he smiles at himself?

 I got to make a truly delicious, moist pumpkin bread on Monday afternoon during August's long nap.  Come back next week for the recipe!

Thanks for my nifty knitted cap, Auntie Haley!  It fits perfectly.
And Mia likes it, too.

A. How perfect is this little onesie from his abuela?  B. How adorable is he during his morning conversation with the blue dog above his play mat?
Oh, and remember how I was complaining about his horrible sleep patterns?  Well, since last Thursday, he's been giving us 8-11 (eleven!!) hours of sleep at night, generally waking up one thing between 4 and 5.  Blissful!

 He loves Sandra Boynton's board books!  This one is called Pajama Time, and there is a song that goes along with it; he loves when we get into it.


JP won a red velvet cake from work; it is a beauty!  And, ahem, quite tasty.  I might have had a slice...or three...just for quality assurance.

And, finally, here is proof that moms and sons can somewhat match outfits.  The little man and I wore polka dot pants and striped beanies yesterday.  We even had on the same sweatshirt in different colors!  I love being his twin.  BFF (sorry, JP)!