Friday, February 29, 2008

To be, or not to be...

guilty...that's the question!

I started sending Gabrielle to "Crossroad's Coral" (or Kid's Day Out as many of you know it) at our church on Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. I think it will be great in the long run for both of us to have some separate time. But, in the meantime, I am feeling really guilty because I am supposed to be at home right now to take care of her, not to have "free" time for myself, while I pay for someone else to watch her during the day.

Of course, Nick has been very supportive in this whole thing, and is really the one who convinced me that it would be okay to do it. Actually, he said that it would be more than okay, and that it would be very healthy for us to both have some time apart...for me to be able to do things that I either need or want to do, and for Gabi to play with kids her age, not to mention get more comfortable being around adults other than me during the day.

Anyway...last Thursday went alright. I talked to the Director at lunch, and she said that Gabi was doing alright. But, when I went to pick her up at 1:30 p.m., she had only eaten half of her little container of food, had refused to drink any of her bottle, and hadn't taken any sort of nap. Keep in mind that she still takes a morning nap, usually about 1.5 hours and is ready for an afternoon nap by around 3:00 p.m. SO, she was crying her eyes out when I got there, and I really felt guilty for the time that I had been away from her and out of our routine (although I got several errands run in half the time and worked on a picture-project that I started way back in the summer of 2006--oops!!!).

Do the rest of you stay-home-mommies take your little angels to a "Kid's Day Out" program during the week? And if so, how long will it take for Gabrielle to adjust to new people and a different schedule?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Birthday flower

So, I am officially 30 years old now. I already checked for new wrinkles and grey hairs and luckily couldn't find any! :) Thirty years ago my parents had to drive through a snow storm in Nebraska to get to the hospital when my mom was having contractions. On the other side of things, living in Texas this winter has been the complete opposite most of the time. Here's a flower that I saw in one of our flowerbeds on my birthday...reminds me that we need to be refreshed and renewed, even in the winter months!

The next two pictures are of our two rose bushes in the back yard. When we got here, they looked like they hadn't been pruned in years because the "branches" were really thick and some of them were close to a lanky-8 feet tall. I knew that they needed to be cut back, but after I was finished, what was left looked pretty darn sad, and I thought that I had probably killed it. But, to my surprise, it began budding at the end of January, and here's what it looks like already--much better!

An upclose version of the smaller plant...lookin' good!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Balls, books, and more

This week she has really liked playing with some of the balls that she has. The first two pictures are with a V-tech ball that plays music, lights up, and actually rolls around by itself--pretty entertaining! :)

These next three pictures are with a "Tangi-ball" that I bought a long time ago from a Discovery Toy party. It has bumps all over it for touch, it smells like vanilla, it makes a squeaking noise when you squeeze it, and it is blue for the sight part. Honestly, I have no idea if it tastes good--I didn't go there! :) Gabi figured out that in order to make the squeaking noise, she had to squish it somehow, so that's what she is doing in these pictures. She's so smart (and I'm not biased)! :)

Just a few more pictures of Gabi with her books. She can play with a book for quite a while if it is easy for her to get the pages open. I think it's so cute that she is "pretending" to read already!

Thought you might enjoy this "bonus" picture of Gabi lounging in her rocking chair.

A couple of other "new" things that Gabi has learned this week. During our bath time, she is pretending to drink out of the cup I have in the tub...of course, I have to make sure there's no water in there because she tipped it way back and splashed a whole cup full of water in her face last night. She looked at me with her scared face like, "What just happened?"

She also fed herself her bottle in her high chair, which up until now hasn't worked because she didn't understand that she had to tip her head and the bottle back to actually get it all out. And, she was albe to get Cherrios out of our little container a few at a time (without spilling the whole thing...which is wonderful!).

Hope you are all having a great week--let us know how you are doing when you get a chance. And I can't wait to watch Gabrielle figure out more things in the weeks to come (and tell you about them too)! :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

I wonder what happens when...

Sometimes I seriously wonder what is going through Gabrielle's little head. We were doing laundry this week, and she decided that instead of putting the clothes in the basket, she should be in there. My favorite of this picture grouping is the last one...her just looking at the basket like, "What just happened here?"

I thought that the next group of pictures was pretty good too. I was sitting in the chair, and I noticed that she was playing with the blanket on the couch (probably chewing on the tag!). I started saying "peek-a-boo" to her, and she played it by herself...too cute!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spinach-Chicken Breast Rolls

Just thought I would share another recipie that I made tonight. I was going to make this on Valentine's Day, but Nick took me out instead. It was pretty easy...the most time went into pounding the chicken so that it would be flat enough to roll up. Nick's comment was that it was possibly one of the best recipies that I have EVER made. WOW...and I got him to eat spinach in the process!!! We also had a nice glass of wine (that he gave me last week for V-day) felt good to feel like a "grown-up", even at home!

Spinach-Chicken Breast Rolls
3-5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1-2 pounds)
1 egg white
10-oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar tomato sauce
Garlic to taste
Italian seasonings
Pasta of your choice (I used egg noodles, but the recipie called for whole wheat spaghetti)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly pound chicken until 1/4" thick (I used my rolling pin).
In bowl stir together egg white, spinach, cottage cheese, and half of the mozzarella. Spoon onto chicken and roll up from the narrow side. Place seam side down in 9x9 baking dish. Pour tomato sauce over chicken and sprinkle with garlic and Italian seasonings.
Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to the oven for about 25 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink and cheese is light brown. Serve with already cooked and drained pasta.

Always new things

For those of you who read my previous "tag" post, I just have to give an update that I got to go to a movie this weekend. We called a new 13-year old girl to come babysit while Nick and I went to an afternoon movie on Saturday. "Definitely-maybe" was a great show...Nick liked it too even though it was a romantic-comedy! :) Next read a fiction book in my "spare" time! :)

Gabi's been finding "new" things to do, say, and get into almost on a daily level right now. She's starting to climb more, say "da-da" a LOT, as well as try to get into every space in our house that has a drawer or a door on it.

Here are some of our fun pictures from this week.

Smiles for miles, as my dad likes to say...We started wearing little barretts in her hair a couple of days this week, and she surprisingly didn't mess with them after I got them secured in her hair. AND, they stayed in all day, so I didn't have to go searching around the house in fear of her eating them!

Exploring one of my real roses...I made sure that she held the top part where there weren't any thorns. She ended up ripping one of the pedals and one of the leaves off, but never tried eating it--perhaps we are making progress!

This was just too cute! Nick and I always DVR "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune", and watch them quickly right after supper. She must have been entranced by the colors or something because she would smile, but never look over at Nick for a picture. I just thought she looked so grown-up there "posing" like she owned the place (with her belly sticking out). Unfortunately, I think you'd probably agree with me that this shirt has gotten too small for her! :)

We were all in the office one night working on stuff...I think I was posting on the blog, so Nick got his guitar out to play. Gabi kept going over and pulling on the strings while Nick was playing a song, which made it sound pretty funny. So, Nick thought that it was time to teach her how to really play the guitar. I am still hoping that she will want to be musical, and she will eventually want to learn how to play multiple instruments! :)

This is our "bouncy seat" that we used when she was a baby. There's a blue "kick-stand" on it that we have popped up under the chair, which makes it into a rocking chair. She's finally big enough to get in it on her own, so we have it in the livingroom for her to enjoy. Most of the time she has just been pushing it around the room, but she also sat in it for a few seconds the other night after supper. Thanks to Joey and Amanda for giving this to us as a gift!!!

Her walker (that she hates to be in now that she's so mobile) is yet another one of her toys that she likes to climb on. I think that it is going to have to go away soon because I fear her tipping it over. But, for now it provides some great entertainment. I don't have a clue either what she is reaching for because there is nothing under there. Some days I really wonder what is going through her precious little brain! :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by my friend Jill. This means I had to fill out the following questionnaire and post it, then tag some more people at the end...

Four jobs I have had in my life:
*Mary Kay Consultant
*Private voice, piano, and flute teacher
*K-5 Elementary Music Teacher
*Bethany College Admissions (Visit Coordinator)
*I had to add a bonus job that I loved: Methodist Church of Lindsborg Children's Choir Director

Four movies I could watch over and over:
*The Wedding Planner
*My Best Friend's Wedding
*Dumb and Dumber

Four places I have lived:
*Byron, Nebraska (on a dairy farm near there)
*Lindsborg, Kansas
*Wichita, Kansas
*Odessa, Texas

Four shows that I watch:
*Clean Sweep
*What Not to Wear
*Grey's Anatomy

Four places I have been:
*Italy (our honeymoon)
*Mexico (mission trip)
*Hawaii (to visit the Petersons)
*Carnegie Hall (Bethany College choir tour)

Four people who email me regularly:
*Facebook (does that count when I get updates?)
*Retail stores that send me weekly emails from that almost always go directly to my trash bin.

Four of my favorite foods:
*Fajitas (there is some great Mexican food here in TX!)
*A really great steak!
*Brownies and homemade ice cream
*Popcorn (especially when I get to go to a movie...which hasn't happened since before Gabi was born...*sigh*)

Four places I would rather be right now:
*Wichita hanging out with our family and friends who I miss.
*At a spa getting pampered (a massage would be great!)
*In bed reading a fiction's been so long since I read something that I just plain wanted to, rather than learning about babies and parenting!
*On vacation traveling somewhere I've never been.

Four things I'm looking forward to in the next 12 months:
*Visits back to Wichta and Nebraska
*Gabrielle working on new words and figuring out so many new milestones.
*Traveling around Texas with Nick and Gabi.
*Finding more women friends here and perhaps starting a play group too!

Four gifts I got for Christmas:
*Digital keychain (that I haven't actually gotten loaded with pictures yet...oops!)
*Kitchen extra bowl for my Kitchenaide mixer, an electric hand-held can opener, a wine-bottle opener, a turn-table my dad/uncle crafted out of wood for us.
*Money (that I plan to use for pampering pedicures and clothes splurges).
*A fiction book from my mom that I haven't read yet (refer above to comment on wanting to have the time to read something that I wanted).

Four places I want to visit:
*More places in TX & NM while we are so close
*Alaska (my goal is to eventually visit all 50 states, and this is my other "hard" one to get)
*Germany (to perhaps find where my family came from
*Paris (so that I can use some of their language that I learned in HS!!)

Four things you did not know about me:
*I can sew...the 11 years in 4-H gave me skills! :)
*I was the 1996 Nebraska State Dairy Princess...mostly to hand out ribbons at fairs and wave in parades (okay, and give some speaches at conventions too).
*I was a Jr. High cheerleader for two years.
*I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is one of the reasons we had a hard time getting pregnant with Gabi...lots of other "fun" symptoms come along with this too!

Four things I wish I could be better at:
*Being more efficient with the time I have during my day.
*Keeping Gabi's baby book and scrapbook was before we moved from Wichita and had to keep the house cleaned-up for showings. *more sighs*
*Keeping in touch with friends (although our blog and Facebook have been a real help--go technology!!)
*Being a mom, and staying patient when Gabi decides to eat things she shouldn't (did I mention staying patient with Nick too at times?).

Four things I can cook without a recipe:
*Hamburger-green bean-tater tot casserole
*Chicken enchiladas
*Homemade vanilla ice cream
*Fresh strawberry pie

Four musicians that I really like:
*Caedmon's Call
*Nicole Nordemann
*Jill Phillips
*Casting Crowns

I tag whoever would like to do this. Since I got it from Jill, and she tagged Tanya and Julie, that's pretty much my friends who I think regularly visit our blog and update their blogs...Surprise me!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My sweet husband

So this year Nick turned Valentine's Day into a whole "Extravaganza" week of surprises for me--yeah! :) I thought I would just brag on him, since it was so much fun to be pampered a little each day!

Day 1...Monday I got 2 dozen red roses and a bottle of resling favorite kind of white wine. He also stopped by and picked up my pictures from Sams on his was home from work--bonus!

Day 2...Tuesday I got the "Just Married" DVD. We like watching it since they went to some of the same places in Italy for their honeymoon too. My favorite part is the end when they "kiss and make up"...ahh, always the romantic in me!

Day 3...Wednesday I got a box of chocolate-covered-strawberries from one of the local shops here in Odessa (Suzie's South 40 Confections).

Day 4...Thursday (Valentines Day) I got several things. You will notice that he got me some chocolates, a Beth Moore "Jesus" book, an onion chopper (no more tears here!), a cute stuffed puppy (that Gabi already likes to play with), and two pair of earrings (CZs in 14 ct. gold for my sensitive skin). Did I mention that we also went out to eat at McAlister's Deli so I didn't have to cook dinner? I think that I have the most wonderful husband ever! :)

The Story of Valentine's Day

I also wanted to share the story from the book that I gave to Gabrielle (I don't think I had actually heard the story before this year). For those of you who read Jill's blog, my story is just a little different...of course it could be because my version is coming from a children's book by Nancy J. Skarmeas.

On Valentine's Day we give cards, cookies, and candy to the people we like. In school, children decorate their classrooms with red hearts. They give valentines to their friends. But do you know why we celebrate Valentine's Day?

Long ago, in the city of Rome, there lived a man named Valentine. He was kind and all the children loved him. One day, the King of Rome made a law. He said, "All young men will be in my army. They cannot ever get married." The young men and women were very sad.

Valentine tried to help the young men and women. The King became very angry and threw Valentine in jail. The children were sad to see Valentine in jail. They made cards and wrote letters and sent them to Valentine. One little girl, who was blind, brought food to Velentine. He thanked her and prayed for her. Then a miracle happened. The little girl could see! Valentine sent the girl a letter and signed it, "From your Valentine."

On February 14th, we remember Valentine. All over the world, people send cards called "Valentines" to celebrate this special day. On Valentine's Day we show our love for our friends and family with gifts and cards. And, like Valentine and the children of Rome...we remember that all God's children should love one another.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Doors and drawers...

In the last week of so, Gabrielle has been getting into my cabinets and drawers more and more. We need to finish putting those baby-locks on our cabinets soon! :)
She's also been pulling doors open and closed. The first set of three pictures is in our guest room/office...she comes in with me when I check my email throughout the day, or when I need something out of the closet (wrapping paper, Mary Kay, etc.). I just thought that these were too cute because this time she was actually closing and opening the door while she was on the inside.

The next set of two pictures was taken on one of our 70 degree days we've been having lately. I walked outside to get the paper, and afterwards she just wanted to stand there. Cheap entertainment, I guess! :) Hopefully someday she'll learn to stand there and wait for daddy to come home from work in the afternoons...I'm sure he'd like that!
So, I guess the "moral" to this blog-post is that I know she likes messing with our doors right now. I found out the hard way when she closed herself into the bathroom last Thursday morning, and then proceeded to pull drawers out of our vanity (making it so I couldn't open the door). I paniced because I didn't know how I was going to get her out through a crack smaller than what I could get my fingers through. But, the creative side of me thought hard (after I yelled at Gabi to close the drawers, which she obviously didn't understand) and I ran to get a pencil and pushed the drawers shut with the eraser side through the small opening. Ugh!
I don't feel so bad though now, because in Sunday School this weekend, our pastor of married-life told a story about his young daughter locking herself in their bedroom and his wife actually got an axe and broke their door and everything to get her out. Wow...what moms do during their weeks for their kids!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Top 3 things you won't see in Kansas

3. Large bales of cotton (instead of hay) that are about the size of a small trailer house.

2. Dust dirt everywhere (kind of like a Kansas snowstorm, but red instead).

1. Border Patrol Recruiters...enough said.

I'm really sorry that I didn't get any pictures of these things. Trust me, I remembered to pack everything but the camera...oops! These were just a few of the moments that Nick and I had a good laugh this weekend when we took a day trip up to Lubbock (only about 2 hours north of where we live), and I couldn't resist. We had some fabulous food at "One guy from Italy" and "Freebirds World Burritos" resturants. And I also got some great bargin shopping done while we were there too (while Nick was at Guitar Center).

While we were there we went to Portait Innovations for pictures for Gabi. Since she's been sick, we put off her 9-month pictures until now (she'll be 10-months old this Sunday the 10th). Here's the one that we thought was the best...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl Sunday

Our latest family picture taken with the timer on our camera yesterday after church. It didn't turn out as well as I thought...for some reason there is a glare in the bottom left corner. Oh well, guess we'll have to keep trying!

We had some friends over for the game that we met at church. It's odd sometimes how you meet people that you immediately "click" with just because of similar experiences/interests. Amanda and Jayson had a hard time getting pregnant too, and Haley was born only a day after Gabi--crazy! They are also both musical, which includes Jayson's love for playing the bass guitar like Nick. I guess meeting new friends down here is just another area that I need to give praise to God for!

The girls playing on the floor during the game (notice Haley's cute "picture smile"). Was anyone else a little disappointed in most of the commercials this year? Good thing the end of the game was exciting! :)

Growing every day

Gabi's been growing and figuring more and more things out every day. It's funny how fast they grow up...I know everyone told me that, but I really don't think I understood how quickly they really meant.
For example, last Friday I was getting ready to go to Gabi's doctor's appointment, and she was hanging out with me in our bathroom. She pulled herself up on the toilet, which isn't unusual because she likes our soft seat cover. Before I knew it, she had flushed the toilet, and turned quickly to look at me (I'm guessing to check whether she was going to get one of my "You're in trouble" looks). I didn't say much, so she proceeded to flush it twice more. I guess it got boring to her pretty quickly because after that she moved on to pulling things out of my drawer. :)

This picture was taken last Saturday afternoon right after Gabi took three steps in a row to me--TWICE! I can't believe how mobile she's starting to get already.

Nick likes to mess up Gabi's hair after her bath...I think that the "dazed-and-confused" look on her face explains it all!

Gabi does a pretty good job of playing by herself, which usually includes taking her books out of the toybox and "reading" them at some point during the day. This is one of her favorite board books...I think it's because the pages open and turn easily. The added bonus is that pushing the pictures on the side plays different classical music pieces too. (Yep, it's a Baby Einstein product!)

Gabi seems so proud of herself for climbing on more and more stuff lately. In this picture she's standing on Nick's bass guitar case (it's a hard-shell, so she can't damage it thankfully!). This also makes it easier for her to get to the plantation blinds, which lately she's enjoyed opening and closing multiple times in a entertainment, I guess! :)

Is this a picture of what the future holds for Gabi...loving guitar equiptment like daddy?

So I put a box from her toy walker behind some of our furniture because there are some cords strung beside the wall back there that Gabi likes to pull at. So, now she goes back there and bangs on the box like a drum. It actually makes a pretty nice sound for a box!

Friday, February 01, 2008


Yea!! That's about all I can say since we had a dr. appointment this morning and they said that Gabi sounded/looked great! They even said that we can start weaning her off the breathing treatments during the next week...yea again!!! Thanks again for your prayers for Gabrielle to get better. The last "yea" goes to not having to schedule another appointment for her 9-mo "well-baby" like they said we might have to do. Hopefully no more doctor's appointments until she's a year old! :)