Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two month old sweetness

My sweet baby Melia turned two months old this week. What a wonderful little girl she is! She is a great eater, sleeper and smiler. What more could you ask for in a baby. The big kids adore her. Her parents are enamored by her. We are truly blessed.

Here is my baby when she was one day old - she's changed so much already!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's Magic!

Matt and I took our Dads out for dinner to The Magic Time Machine here in Dallas to celebrate Father's Day. I never got around to posting these pictures (considering I had a baby 3 days later!) - but they must be shared.

Here we are having a "magical" time. These pictures were both handed to us by the talented and creative staff at Magic Time Machine and are kind of like the games you find in Highlights magazine. Circle the 8 things that are different about these two pictures. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What a great weekend

This weekend we were happy to have my family in town to celebrate Melia's dedication at church. We were so blessed to have so many family and friends join us at church and at her reception at our home afterward! What a special day!

Our dedication prayer for Melia

Dear God,
Thank you so much for blessing us with our
precious daughter Melia. It has taken no time
for her to win the hearts of everyone in our family.
She brings so much joy and delight to our lives,
and we pray that she will delight in you all of her days.

Gabby made sure to show everyone watching how much she loved her sister

And Oliver occupied himself by playing with some baby toes

My mom and sister helped me make some rainbow cupcakes that I've been wanting to try for a while...

They turned out so vivid!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Loving that Grandpa!

Melia was smiling up a storm this afternoon and I finally caught her cute smiles on camera...

And the reason for all of that smiling... Grandpa Pepe is here!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I want to remember these little faces

On the way to the circus!

An amazing quilt made by a friend!

Look at that cute "bed head" little boy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back to reality

One of the most amazing blessings we had after welcoming Melia into our family was having meals provided to us by our friends and family. I didn't have to cook for a month!!! And that my friends is a HUGE deal. Thank you again for everyone who graciously blessed us with their time and their yummy food.

But all good things must come to an end, and now I am once again in charge of providing my family with dinner every evening. But I have a friend, whom I have never met, helping me to keep things interesting. Ree Drummond (aka the Pioneer Woman) and her cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks have inspired me. After browsing through the book one time I knew I wanted to own it. As soon as I got my hands on my copy I sat down and read it cover to cover. A cookbook. But Ree's voice is so entertaining and her recipes so enticing (not to mention the step-by-step pictures!) that it was truly an enjoyable read. All of the recipes looked amazing. Most of them sounded like they would TASTE amazing. And the ones that I have made did not disappoint. And I give all of the credit to the Pioneer Woman's well-documented genius.

I'm toying with the idea of doing a Julie and Julia version of her cookbook... one by one making all of the recipes in her cookbook. I've already learned some new things about cooking after making only four of her recipes... namely how to make gravy from scratch. This is a task that has always daunted me and that I've failed at in the past. But as Ree says "Please, my friends, do not be afraid of the gravy."

I've documented the four recipes I've tried with pictures which I will share below. I've only made them once each with the exception of the Chicken-Fried Steak and Creamy Mashed Potatoes. I made that again for the second time tonight to share with our friends. I'm happy to say the second time was much faster and even a little bit tastier than the first time!

Obviously, this is a cookbook I would highly recommend. And those that I've shared my culinary endeavors with all agree on one thing - yummmmmmmm!

Basic Breakfast Potatoes brought to our "Breakfast for Dinner" Neighbor Dinner a few weeks ago

Yes my friends, that is bacon, yes BACON wrapped around a meatloaf. Wow.

And the finished product with yummy glaze on top. I almost forgot to get the picture and as you can see there wasn't much left over after our Small Group folks got a hold of it!

And Chicken-Fried Steak and Creamy Mashed Potatoes. One of my most favorite meals ever.

These mashed potatoes were super creamy because of the first lesson I learned... don't "eyeball" to get you to half of the 5 pound bag of potatoes... actually use a scale and measure until you get the required 2.5 pounds. Otherwise you are left with a super creamy dish of potatoes. The word "runny" could also be substituted for "creamy" in this case due to the addition of butter, half and half, and oh yes cream cheese! Don't worry - the taste was EXCELLENT. Just a little bit too rich. You can even see the butter in the picture! Sinful. Fortunately, the second time around the consistency was much better thanks to my oft-used kitchen scale.

So those are the recipes I've made up until today. I am constantly planning my next social event. I've already sent two dinner invitations and am just waiting on date confirmations so I think I will go to bed now with my cookbook in hand and start plotting my next calorific meal. I really do love having people in my home. And cooking for them - especially when I'm almost guaranteed a home run of a meal thanks to my friend Ree.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I love my kids

We are adjusting well to life as a family of five! The big kids still love their baby sister. Gabriella wants to hold her and kiss her all the time... and poor Melia gets a face full of Gabby's curly hair every time! She's often overheard saying, "I love you baby, I always love you."

Oliver is in love with this little baby. He always wants to know where she is in the house, reports to us whenever her eyes are open, and loves to smell her head after her bath. "She smells so good mom!"

I am really loving having two little girls!

Being silly

One month old princess

Starting to fill out those cheeks!

Melia is now over 10 pounds and is still a really good baby. She sleeps well at night. Most nights I'm only up once around 3:30am to feed her... and then she goes right back to sleep! She's starting to have longer awake periods during the day and loves to stare at ceiling fans and people's faces. She's given us a few quick smiles and we're working on getting her to do that more often. She loves to cuddle (and we love cuddling her) and to lay on the floor and look around. Her abundance of hair is getting even longer and the little curl in the middle of her forehead is starting to really flip up away from her head giving her a super cute little hairstyle!

I have had two successful weeks on my own with the kids. We went to a movie just the four of us and survived :) Life is not slowing down at all and we have plans to take a road trip to Austin in a few weeks, a plane trip to Utah in September to see my sister Megan and her new baby, a train trip to Indiana in October, and a camping trip to wrap up the fall. Fun times ahead!