Friday, November 23, 2012

As I sit here, a sleepy puppy by my side, baby in bed, and hot chocolate in hand, I'm reminiscing over our Thanksgiving day. It was Noelle's first, and no doubt will be one we won't forget.

On our way to the Dave's Aunt's house we talked about what we were thankful for this year. Each other, of course, was first and foremost. We always refer to ourselves as a team, and I can't imagine a better teammate than him. Through the ups and downs, and all of the changes that we've been through together we support and encourage each other no matter what. Next, baby Noelle.

She's our little pumpkin pie, munchkin, no-no, darling little girl. We're so lucky to have been blessed with such a perfect daughter. She was such a good girl during our outing, the longest we've had since we brought her home. It's hard to imagine possibly loving her any more, and every day I find myself falling more and more in love with her! Then our families.

We have the best families. In-laws on both sides, Aunts, (funny I just realized that neither Dave or I have Uncles), cousins and extended family, all of you. They are supportive, and always there for us.

Other things that we are most thankful this year for are our great jobs. While so many people are out of work, we are very lucky to have jobs that we love. Our friends. Our pets. The list really could go on, we are very lucky, and have a lot to be thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but everyday of the year.
From our family to yours, we hope you had a fantastic holiday!

Noelle's First Month

Saturday, November 17, 2012

As I've mentioned before, since Noelle has joined us, time has really flown by. We've done so much in her short time here, too!

Before we even got home from the hospital Noelle had several visitors who were excited to welcome her. Cammy, Aunt B and Aunt Steph all met her during her first couple days.

When we came home Cammy and Grandpa visited for two weeks. They had to get enough snuggles in to last them until Christmas! And, Aunt Erica flew in from New York to escape (not really, but conveniently) the hurricane. Noelle got to meet her first friend Leena and her mom Aunt Carrie, and Aunt Kristen came over to teach her how to cheer for U of M football. Great Aunt Pam, Mark and Sophia brought a delicious lunch spread, and visited for the afternoon. Finally after the initial dust had settled Noelle's west coast NeNe and Da arrived. Noelle had lots of play time and photo shoots while they were visiting, and mom and dad got to relax a bit more than usual. 

Noelle loves her car seat which makes it very easy to tote her around with us to get out of the house. She's visited Bed, Bath and Beyond, The Container Store, Land of Nod, Costco and a variety of restaurants. She is getting better at seeing the doctor, and hopefully by her two month check-up her little legs will have beefed up a bit for those vaccinations!
I absolutely love being home with Noelle. It's been a big adjustment, not being around people who can effectively communicate, but I know it will be so hard to go back to work. Our daily routine is pretty regular at this point. Thankfully, Noelle enjoys the Ergo Baby carrier as much as mom does, so we're able to go for a few walks with Halas during the day, and we always look forward to when daddy is home from work, and we can hang out as a family :)

We have a lot of firsts coming up in the next months: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. I'm looking forward to sharing these memories with you, as well as everything in between!

Wednesday Wisdom

Slow Cooking Returns

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Well, it might not be on a Sunday, but the slow cooker, cooking, returned to our house this last week. It totally slipped my mind to even take photos while I was putting everything together, but it was delicious, so I wanted to share what I did with all of you.

The fall, and cooler temperatures always make me crave chili, and more hearty meals. I had two cans of shredded chicken (you know, like how tuna comes) in my cupboard and was trying to find a good use for them. In the summer I make a mean chicken salad, but it's certainly not the time of year for that, and chili is a pretty easy meal to throw together without any instruction. I'm usually not that adventurous, but I was confident that I couldn't screw this one up!

So, after deciding I was going to make a chicken chili, I had to run to the store to get the remaining ingredients. At the store I grabbed a can of red kidney beans, a can of corn, a can of stewed, sliced tomatoes, a packet of chili seasoning, and of course a box of Jiffy corn bread mix. The cans of chicken that I had on hand were large cans (from Costco) and I used two. (If you had the "normal" (tuna sized) cans, I'd probably use four cans.)

Everything can go into the slow cooker together. Drain the beans and corn, and use the juice from the tomatoes. I also added about 2/3 a bottle of beer. You can use whatever type of beer that you prefer. I used a brown ale since that's what we had at home. The chicken is already cooked, so it basically will just need to marinate together and warm. I had ours in the cooker for about 6 hours on low. Before we got ready to eat I whipped together the corn bread muffins so they would be warm with our meal. I also added a bit of flour to the chili to thicken it before we dug in. If you like a more soupy chili, don't add the flour, this is purely personal preference.

Next time I make this chili I'll be sure to take some photos and update the post.

In the mean time, now that Noelle and I are into a better routine, I should be able to find some time to write more. I wrote this last week, and am just now finishing it. We have a big milestone coming up though - Noelle's one month birthday!

Wednesday Wisdom: Man's Best Friend

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The addition of our newest family member has been a big change. For dad and me, we had time to prepare, to talk about the adjustment, and how we were going to manage. Less surprises you could say. However, for our creatures, it was a bit shocking I think.

Winnie is her usual self. Does her own thing wandering around our apartment, cuddling when she feels like it. She comes over to sniff Noelle every once in a while, but is not so concerned. Halas on the other hand has had a harder time. For the first two weeks my dad was his buddy, but after my parents left, he was stuck here wondering why I was home all of the time, yet not playing with him. Poor thing.

We're in a good walk routine now, and have made friends with one of our upstairs neighbor dogs, Mia, who Halas loves. We are very thankful for the school parking lot next door that is gated, and unused in the evening. Many nights we can take Halas over for a run, and frequently we bump into Mia. They have a ball running and wrestling. This works out well for all of us, I must say, and both dogs go home ready for bed.

Halas, pal, this post is for you. We still love you just as much as we ever did. You're our favorite dog!

Three (almost) Weeks of Noelle

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The past 14+ days have just flown by, and I'm proving this by the delay in posting an update! I meant for this to be a two week update, and started writing this about four days ago.

We were lucky enough to have my parents here for two weeks to help with the adjustment. It was proven how helpful this was, when after only being gone for one day, we had a full laundry bin! My mom was a tremendous help with watching Noelle so I could do things like shower, and my dad was in charge of Halas. Noelle even got a visit from Aunt Erica who escaped the hurricane madness in New York to spend time with us.
Now we're on our own though, and doing alright I'd say. Noelle's days are filled with feedings, diaper changes, and naps, while my days are busy with trying to manage all of Noelle's "to-dos" as well as taking care of the housework like laundry, and cleaning, making sure I eat, and walking Halas!
We celebrated Noelle's first holiday this week, too! While I am not a huge fan of Halloween, I'm trying to get into it for her. Dad loves Halloween, and is already looking forward to Halloween themed birthday parties.
My intention will be to update at least weekly, but we'll see how that goes!

Happy November, everyone :)