Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving might be my FAVORITE holiday. I try and make thankfulness a daily thing rather than just one day/season a year so that aspect, while really important, isn't necessarily the best part to me. I really, really love family gatherings. And I really, REALLY love enjoying the traditional holiday foods. Put those two things together and you've got a happy girl. This year, we were able to celebrate not one, but TWO Thanksgivings. On Thursday, we headed to Cedar Rapids to Jed's sister and brother-in-laws where his parents were also visiting.
Grandpa Paul scooped Miss Lainey up right away and when I turned my back, slipped this Packers jersey on her. Green and yellow... what terrible colors :)
The Packers scored... quite a few times.
Look at me! It's my first Thanksgiving (outside the womb)!
The feast!
Talk about beautiful weather!!
We were trying to get a good family picture - this one obviously wasn't the winner (blurry face Mom) but I just love Lainey's expression.
Jaylen and her Uncle Jed were taking silly pictures and videos.
Grandma Mary and all of her girls!

On Saturday, we headed to my Grandma's house in Knoxville. My sister and niece made the long drive from North Carolina last week and will be with us all the way through Christmas! YEAH! So they and my parents were down and most of the rest of the fam joined us as well. Grandma's cooking never disappoints, the meal was delicious and I can't remember exactly, but there were at least 4 desserts to choose from at the end of the night.

Lainey Charlotte and her Great Grandma Charlotte! Love when these two get to spend time together!
Claire was reading one of her read-aloud books from her Daddy!
Giving Lainey lots and lots and LOTS of love!
Phase 10 ... I stink at Phase 10. Sigh.
Little Miss very happy to be home!

I think Thanksgiving will always be my favorite holiday from now on because last Thanksgiving weekend, we found out we had a little beanie baby on the way! It was so hard to keep that exciting news secret for a little while but I think I will always remember back to Turkey Day 2010 with great joy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


[This may or may not be the first non-Lainey post since her arrival... so if you're just visiting to read about Lainey, this post isn't for you... :)]

Some of my favorite memories growing up involve family road trips from Minnesota down to Iowa to see my Dad's side of the family in Knoxville and Pella. We would stay at my Grandma's and visit, play the game of Life, Phase 10, Catch Phrase or paper football, laugh (A LOT) and EAT! My Grandma Charlotte (where Lainey got her middle name!) is truly amazing in the kitchen. I know lots of people say this about their Grandma's, but they are all wrong, because mine is really the best. :) Some of her specialties include, but are not limited to, a traditional roast beef dinner (with mashed potatoes, corn, creamed peas, delicious gravy... yum), CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (I try and recreate this masterpiece all the time and never get it quite right), Chalupas, Chicken Tetrazzini, brownies... the list goes on. A few years ago, my cousin and I decided it was time for Grandma to teach us a thing or two in the kitchen. We first asked if she would teach us how to make her homemade pie crust, specifically for apple pies. Here we are learning the precious art of pie making...

Then, last fall we asked her if she would teach us how to make her dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls, since they are made from the same dough. These dinner rolls are amazing. They are flaky, buttery, soft and DELICIOUS. The cinnamon rolls are sugary and sweet. I think we both learned that working with dough is really a tricky task at first - there are many things that need to be done just a certain way ... Grandma's way! We all always tease her about her "measurements" and "recipes" - she eyeballs everything and usually leaves things out when sharing a recipe, which is why we couldn't just ask for it written down. We needed to get a hands on lesson! I hadn't gotten a chance to attempt the dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls... until NOW! With Thanksgiving coming tomorrow, it was the perfect opportunity for me to attempt the rolls!
All of the ingredients ready to go!
Simon... sigh.
Mixing the dry ingredients.
Scalding the milk and adding butter and margarine.
My sweet helper!
She makes the funniest faces... back to work...
Rolls rolled and rising...
Rolling up the cinnamon-y sugar-y goodness!
Obviously, my first attempt (top) was a learning experience and the second roll turned out much better!
Rolls baking away!
Icing drizzled on top of the warm rolls!
All of the finished products!

Thankfully, little miss napped like a CHAMP today and helped me get a lot of this done without too many interruptions. I definitely learned a few things along the way and will have to try again soon and apply what I've learned. If you want the recipe, let me know, or want to join me next time I make these, you'll have to clear a good 4 or 5 hours out of your schedule, but you are more than welcome! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Twinkle Toes

Lainey may never want to be a dancer like her Momma but for now, she doesn't get a say in what she wears. So, today, she is a ballerina! With a shirt like that with ballet shoes on it, one must wear tights instead of pants! I must say, I think she looks totally adorable!
First, we stretch!
Don't be nervous!
Then we kick our legs!
Look at me! My arms are moving so fast the camera can't focus!
All smiles!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Lainey is now 3 months old! I am completely amazed at how much she has grown and changed in such a short amount of time. My Grandma says that babies go through big changes at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months and I definitely can say that I've found that to be true with Lainey.
Lainey is such a good baby - so many people have told me that. She just has a real sense of calm and peace about her and is really relaxed in most situations no matter where she is or who is holding her. Sometimes she is really chill but sometimes she is really FUN and she gets really excited and kicks her legs and flails her arms and I even got a little giggle out of her this
weekend! She is starting to watch and track toys and objects and even reach for things. She's VERY smiley and so, so sweet. She is still a great eater and is becoming a really good sleeper too. We've been working on getting her to fall asleep on her own, in her crib, for naps (thanks to the advice of my sister and some of my great mom friends :).
The first day was awful and she cried 40 minutes before falling asleep. The next day it was only 15 minutes and since those two times, she's never cried for more than 5 minutes and usually there's no crying at all. This is also helping her to nap for longer periods of time and our day is becoming more structured, which is both good (predicitability for Lainey) and bad (less flexibility for errands and plans and things). She's been sleeping through MOST nights since she was about 2 months old. She seems to be a bit of a morning person and rarely sleeps past 7 am, which... is.... good... for me. :)
She is getting a lot more playful, which is super fun. We got her an exersaucer and she's a little small for it still, so we stuff a few blankets in there with her and supervise closely. She is TOTALLY mesmerized by it. It is really neat to watch her concentrate so hard on something and really look at it. I constantly wonder what's going on in that little head of hers.
We love our sweet Lainey and are so thankful to be her parents!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


(The items in these photos were not touched or altered prior to the photos being taken)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

that white stuff

You know what I'm referring to... That 4 letter word that describes the midwest's weather pattern for about 4 months out of the year. We had our first sighting of it over night. I actually woke Jed up to see it around 3:30 am. I'll admit that I think it LOOKS very pretty and pristine after a snow fall but I'm not necessarily looking forward to lugging around a baby in a car seat all winter long. I am VERY thankful to not have to make the long commute to Hartford every day. Lainey and I can have a "snow day" and snuggle together every time it snows if we so please! There definitely is an element of snow that kids can enjoy - I know I spent hours playing outside in the snow during my childhood but for this winter, Lainey will have to enjoy it by looking out the window. Jed took her to the window this morning to show her her very first snow fall...! (And Simon's...)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkins galore!

Lainey has really been enjoying her first FALL season! We've gone on a few walks on the days that aren't too chilly and instead of falling asleep while in her car seat in the stroller, she's very wide eyed and loves looking at the trees. She also told me she LOVES when her Momma drinks Caramel Apple Spices from Starbucks, go figure!

Last weekend, we went to Cedar Rapids to visit Jed's sister, her husband, their daughter and Jed's parents who were in town. Lainey did a fabulous job (sleeping) on the 2 hour drive over and back and I LOVED having the uninterrupted chat time with my husband! Lainey is becoming very observant and is really loving watching and staring at things so she loved getting to watch her cousin running around. She was SO good - she didn't fuss or cry at all the whole 4 hours we were there and didn't mind who was holding her how how close her cousin got in her face!
Uncle Justin and Auntie Cate spending some time talking to her and getting some smiles!Snuggling with Grandma!
We realized both Lainey and Jaylen were going to be PUMPKINS for Halloween so we got them dressed up to take a few pictures! The two cutest little pumpkins ever!One minute Lainey was awake...And the next she was asleep!Uncle Jed teaching Jaylen to put silly things on her head.

On Halloween, we did a little dressing up and Momma went a little crazy with the pictures...
At first she wasn't really very interested...
But then she woke up!
Her expressions really make me laugh.


I feel like she looks SO big in this last picture! I promise she's not really sitting up, I just propped her up and she stayed like that for about 5 seconds.

Thanks, once again, to my sister for the pumpkin costume and the funny ghost shirt. Lainey would be naked all of the time if it weren't for you, Em!