Monday, December 08, 2008

Picture Motherload

Here's the photos from Thanksgiving that I promised! Take a seat. There's lots of pictures to see!

Here's us with our *2* trees this year. Are we bourgeoisie or what? But, really, there had to be a tree in the new NORTH wing of our home. Ha.

Here's my little booboo in his bear bundler. Oh, so cute.

Baby boy snuggling his Mama during the Macy's parade. We were much cozier than those fools on the street in NYC.

Eva with Cooper and his first Christmas presents, ever! Courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa in Ohio. This picture makes me smile. Big. He just looks so giddy.

Proud Pop. Cooper studying a feather during craft time on Turkey Day. We made little turkey pins.

Granny and her boy.

This cracks me up. Cooper LOVES to pull hair and this is him going in for the kill. Mouth open, ready to receive handful of hair. Yum! Good thing Mimi loves him so much. Pretty sure she'll forgive him.

Winter hat. He sure is hard to photograph now that he's on the move! I think I took about 30 photos of him in this hat- 28 of which were useless.

Cooper with Great Grandma Siders. She's so proud of him. I love seeing her hold him.

Emily & Eva, Me & Cooper, Sara & Isabella.

Kelley/Mote clan. It's hard getting everyone to cooperate when there's a baby involved! :)

Grandpa and his first Grandson. Proud as a peacock!

Us with the husbands. Too bad the kids are all looking at the wrong camera. Or are the adults looking at the wrong one?? Clearly, there must have been something interesting going on where the babies were looking.

Self-explanatory cuteness.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Next year, I'll be eatin' turkey and mashed potatoes!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Written a few days ago while riding in the car...

Well, as I write this we are on our way to our third Thanksgiving. So far, we had an early one at our house on Sunday and one at my Dad and Linda's farm in Ohio. We are now headed to Bryan's Grandmother's home in Tennessee. It's always a whirlwind tour but also a lot of fun. I'm glad we can spread it out over the week and don't have to be rushed everywhere.

Not that I'm bragging or anything, but the turkey Bryan and I made this year was SO good. Really, I'm sharing this information because I want to direct you to the recipe that I used. Every year I brine the turkey but this year I decided to do a little research to find out if brining even really makes a difference. I went to the Cook's Illustrated website because they usually are a great reference for scientific testing of things like this. Sure enough, they had a whole article describing the testing of roasting a brined turkey, a turkey soaked in plain water, and a turkey straight out of the package. The turkey that was brined lost the least amount of weight during cooking, thus making it the juiciest. I wholeheartedly agree. To read the article, you have to be a member of their website, sadly (and it's not free). I also recommend the use of a digital thermometer for your turkey. I bought mine at Target and it has worked awesome, three years in a row. There's no doubt about when the turkey is done and will ensure that you don't dry it out. Gross. Dry turkey. Anyway...maybe I should start a cooking blog...jeez. Here's the cooking directions I used (my brine is a little different but I don't think it matters):

Serves 10 to 22, depending on turkey size.   Published November 1, 2004. Cook's Illustrated 
We offer two brine formulas: one for a 4- to 6-hour brine and another for a 12- to 14-hour brine. The amount of salt used in each brine does not change with turkey size. If you’re roasting a kosher or self-basting turkey, do not brine it; it already contains a good amount of sodium. Rotating the bird from a breast-side down position to a breast-side up position midway through cooking helps to produce evenly cooked dark and white meat. If you’re roasting a large (18- to 22-pound) bird and are reluctant to rotate it, skip the step of lining the V-rack with foil and roast the bird breast-side up for the full time. If making gravy, scatter 1 cup each of coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot as well as several fresh thyme sprigs in the roasting pan at the outset; add 1 cup water to keep the vegetables from burning.

Table salt
turkey (12 to 22 pounds gross weight), rinsed thoroughly, giblets and neck reserved for gravy, if making
tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
. 1. Dissolve 1 cup salt per gallon cold water for 4- to 6-hour brine or 1/2 cup salt per gallon cold water for 12- to 14-hour brine in large stockpot or clean bucket. Two gallons of water will be sufficient for most birds; larger birds may require three gallons. Add turkey and refrigerate for predetermined amount of time.
. 2. Before removing turkey from brine, adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 400 degrees for 12- to 18-pound bird or 425 degrees for 18- to 22-pound bird. Line large V-rack with heavy-duty foil and use paring knife or skewer to poke 20 to 30 holes in foil; set V-rack in large roasting pan.
. 3. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well under cool running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Tuck tips of drumsticks into skin at tail to secure, and tuck wing tips behind back. Brush turkey breast with 2 tablespoons butter. Set turkey breast-side down on prepared V-rack; brush back with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Roast 45 minutes for 12- to 18-pound bird or 1 hour for 18- to 22-pound bird.
. 4. Remove roasting pan with turkey from oven (close oven door to retain oven heat); reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees if roasting 18- to 22-pound bird. Using clean potholders or kitchen towels, rotate turkey breast-side up; continue to roast until thickest part of breast registers 165 degrees and thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 60 minutes longer for 12- to 15-pound bird, about 1 1/4 hours for 15- to 18-pound bird, or about 2 hours longer for 18- to 22-pound bird. 

Transfer turkey to carving board; let rest 30 minutes (or up to 40 minutes for 18- to 22-pound bird). Carve and serve.

I do think it is important to start the bird breast side down. I think it made ours much juicier.

The Thanksgiving at our house was totally fun and was just one of those days where everyone was so relaxed and in a great mood. We made food, we chatted, we drank wine, we played with the babes, we crafted turkey pins, we ate ourselves silly. It was a great day. Hope yours was as happy!

Yesterday we had another good one at Dad and Linda's. We did much of the same (a little less wine drinking- y'all know Daddy D isn't down with the fermented grapes!) and got to see Grandma (91), my Aunt, and my cousins. It was so great to catch up and relax on the farm. We took a photo with all of the cousins and babies but I haven't uploaded them yet- you'll have to wait. It was really neat to all be together. Cooper was in his usual cheery mood while we were in Ohio and it's such a joy to have everyone say how smiley and happy he is. It's true- he's a people person and will do pretty much anything to get someone to smile at him. So cute. We are so lucky.

I guess I'm just in a general mood of thankfulness and feeling content for all the people and love that we have in our life. It's not something I ever want to take for granted and I know it's not something everyone has. So, to all of you out there reading this, I'm thankful for you. You are what makes a life special.

Now, on with Christmas!

Pictures of the holiday to come...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Baby

Today was a fun day. It was just an ordinary day, but you were in a wonderful, fun, playful mood all day long. Maybe it was because it's Saturday, or you just woke up on the right side of the crib, or you love it when both Mommy and Daddy are home to simultaneously adore you. Who knows, but we had a great day. You were all smiles and laughed at all of our "jokes". Me tickling you starting at your toes and ending at your neck. Daddy saying COOP!!! ERRR!!! Us popping our heads out of random places to surprise you. It all worked. It was so wonderful to hear you laugh all day. You were even a good napper today. Normally, you fight sleep like it's a crazed lion ready to gobble you up. We all took an hour-long siesta this morning and woke up refreshed. Then we went on a brisk walk up to the village in the cool autumn air. We dressed you in a hooded shirt that I had pulled from your "new things" drawer this morning. Your Dad and I both agreed that you were the cutest thing we had ever laid eyes on. We took you to the mall for the rest of the day. I had a coupon that I "needed" to use so we packed you up and away we went. Again, you were just as content and happy as you could be. You napped in the stroller, you woke and sucked on your paci, you happily bounced around in the ergo. I love it when you are in the carrier and you lean back to get a good look at who's carrying you around. You lean, stare your pack-mule in the face and wait. As soon as we look, you light up. It's one of your finest qualities. Your smile. It consumes your whole body and peaks with your arms. You just seem tickled. It's wonderful. Daddy was shopping for some clothes in Express tonight and you and I danced around the store to Björk. It was totally fun. You loved it. So did I. You're fun. Thanks for a totally great day. You really are the best baby. Love you, sugar.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

50th Anniversary

Last night marked my 50th post here! I decided to celebrate with a little sprucing up around the place. I am enjoying the new look. I was happy to see that it's easy as pie to add a photo to the header. These Blogger people are geniuses. It also made me realize that I have very few recent pictures of myself and/or myself and Cooper where I look decent. Eek, I've been sporting the Mom hairdo (aka crappy ponytail) way too much lately. Seriously, people, I'm embarrassed to call myself a hairstylist some days. Maybe now that I'm coming out of the newborn funk I can find a little more time to sass up my 'do. But, I digress...

So, yay, new blog. Last night I was considering starting a new blog; one that would pretty much be for writing to Cooper. I think I have pretty much decided against it, considering that I have enough going on these days without the added pressure of a separate blog dedicated to my darling. I had considered it for two reasons: I want to remember as much about his life as possible and I want him to read it someday, and, I fear that not everyone wants to read so much about my baby (you know, because a blog about JUST ME is so much more interesting, ha). Ultimately, I really can't and won't deny that Cooper is a HUGE part of my life- so on my blog, weaved into my blog, dominating my blog he shall stay.

Speaking of anniversaries, my maternal Grandparents celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary yesterday. That's longer than some people get to live. They are from Ohio, children of farmers, farmers themselves, and ran off to get married without their parent's consent at the tender ages of 16 and 17. I've asked my Memaw about the circumstances of their marriage many times and every time I find out something new. Last night, she told me that my Papaw really never proposed. He had been drafted for WWII and while on their very first date he mentioned that he didn't have anybody to "come home to" after the war and that he wouldn't mind getting married if he could find someone. My Memaw told me that she promptly said, "Well, I'd marry you." Ha! So, 11 days after their first date, they ran off and got married. Kids...

Highlights of the day with Cooper:
Today I ran home from work while my client was processing to grab my scissors (thanks a lot, Mommy brain). When I walked in the door, you were all upset and crying your little heart out. Kristen was having a time getting you to calm down because you hadn't napped well all day. It broke my heart to see you like that. I grabbed you and snuggled you for a quick couple of minutes before I had to run back to work. You take after your Mommy and Granny in the tears department. You will never be able to hide the fact that you've been crying. You grow a little red mask. Circles around your eyes and little splotches on your forehead. If it weren't so sad, it'd be pretty cute. I was really bummed that I couldn't stay and comfort you longer. I wanted to quit my job right then and there. I love you, little buddy. I'll always do my best to comfort you when you are upset.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Somebody found their feet...

I'm not naming any names but here's his picture...

Oh, the milestones, how you are blowing right through them. I love seeing you grow but it is definitely bittersweet. On Sunday, we had to put your swing out by the street because we had burnt up the motor and couldn't find a replacement to fix it. It was a wonderful hand-me-down from Uncle Seth and Aunt Emily ( no, you didn't wear it out all on your own. I'm no child abuser!!) I happen to walk into the living room and look out the window at the very moment a stranger was loading it into their car and I started crying. I made eye contact with the seat of the swing- the very spot you had spent many hours sleeping- and I got really sad. Sad that you were too big for it anymore, sad that I would never be able to see you in it again, sad that time flies by so quickly. You are not a newborn anymore. You are a beautiful, growing baby boy. For that, I am sad but glad. I'm your mother- this is my job to be so sentimental. I love you.

Here's a couple of us on Halloween. Cooper is a dragon and Eva is a fairy. So cute. Here's Cooper and his Mimi (Bryan's Momma):

Granny, Pop and the little Dragon:

Cooper, Eva and I:

Eva devouring a yummy Halloween cupcake:

Cooper and Daddy carving the pumpkin. I forgot to get a picture of the pumpkin when Bryan finished it. It was glorious. Trust me.

Hope your Halloween was as fun as ours!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Today we had a baby shower for Kelly! This is her 2nd- this time a baby girl, so we had to give her a little sumthin'. Ok, a lotta sumthin'. It's hard to get a bunch of women together, buying presents for a sweet baby girl, and not buy like a billion cute little outfits and girly things. She got lots of great stuff and it was so fun to get together and catch up with the girls. Bryan gave me a free day today and I enjoyed the adult time hanging with the ladies (plus cutie Simon!).

Last night I got to experiment with my new cake decorating supplies. I wanted to make some cool cupcakes for Kelly's shower. This time around I thought I'd try upgrading my tools from a ziploc with a tiny corner cut off to an actual pastry bag with metal tips. It was a lot of fun experimenting and I think the final design turned out pretty if I do say so myself. Her daughter's name is going to be Ruby Kathleen. Ruby and Simon. So cute.

It's weird to think I've been writing this blog long enough to see Kelly through 2 babies. I was skimming over my really old entries the other day and read an entry I had written right after we had a baby shower for her and Simon. That one was a lot of fun, too. I seem to remember the shower lasting until like 1 in the morning because we were talking so much. I love my girls. You all are so important to me. We missed a few of y'all today. Huhhm... Joy, Lauren.

Speaking of people I miss, I tried the pesto recipe- Joel and Jessica. It turned out tasty! Bryan really loved it but damn we had some serious dragon-breath after eating all of its garlicky goodness. We ate ours with ravioli and grilled chicken. The Italian grandmother probably would not approve but it was yummy anyhow. Here's our rendition:

I've enjoyed reading the 101 cookbooks blog where they got the recipe. I love how she makes so many different things and gives little tips and sort of cheers you on by saying things like, "for those of you who think tarts are too fussy - as far as tart-making is concerned, this is about as unfussy as they get." Makes me wanna make a tart for some reason. I can do this!! Lots of yummy ideas- check it out.

In other news, we have spent the last week in somewhat of a personal hell. I woke up last Sunday morning with a stuffy nose and sore throat that turned into a full-blown head cold by Monday morning. By Tuesday night, all 3 of us were sick. I couldn't believe Cooper had gotten sick. It's an awful feeling to hear your baby all snotty and having a hard time breathing. I really kinda panicked when I first realized he was sick. I just felt TERRIBLE for him. We spent the rest of the week trying to keep Cooper as comfortable as possible-humidifier, Johnson's Vapor baths, saline drops, vapor plug-in, sleeping upright in car seat/swing/bouncy seat/babybjörn. Needless to say, no one got much sleep over the last week. It's hard going back to what feels like the newborn phase all over again. Broken sleep, hours on end of rocking, walking, singing, paci-holding-in, butt-patting. At 4am. And 6am. And sometimes all night long. Anything to put the Boy to sleep. At one point, I resorted to pushing him around the house in the car seat/stroller combo making lots of teeny tiny u-turns all over the place. I thought to myself, "If someone looks in my front window they will think I've lost my mind." And I sort of had. All the routines for nap-time and bedtime have gone out the window. I'm hoping we will regain normalcy when he's all better. Today, he seems like he's feeling a ton better. Back to cooing and squealing so I'm pretty sure he's on the mend. Yay. And we are finally better. Sayonara, snot. Please stay away long enough for me to forget how much I hate you.

Now, on with the Coops. I've got lots of sweet little pictures to share with you all. He's growing like a little weed without my permission. FIVE months on November 1st. Jeez.

Here's the family unit:

Baby Boy in his hat:

What Cooper does while Mommy gets ready for work:

He <3's NY:

Uncle Bennie and his charge:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flashback Wednesday

Wow, I accidentally clicked backwards in iPhoto and came across this photo taken at Bryan's birthday party in 2002. Oh my goodness, we are so young! Looks like we are having a pretty good time! I love how Joy is all scrunched up at the bottom. For those of you who weren't able to make it to this party- that's me, Jennifer, Heather and Joy.

And then there's this:

Yeah, me, Bryan and Babette. Babs was only 6 months old in this photo! My fluffy princess.

This would have been within the first year we lived here in our house. I was just thinking today that this month marks 7 years that we've been in our home. There are so many memories here (and so many layers of paint on all the walls). Not that we are moving any time soon, but I know that when/if we ever do it will be really hard to leave this house behind. We've gone through a lot of big life events here- partying through our twenties, marriage, the birth of our first baby, and everything in between. What is a home? A safe place where you can really be yourself, somewhere to have friends and family, a project for making your own, a place to lay your head at night. It has our smell. It's our slice of the pie. I love having a home. Especially since it's filled with a wonderful life. I'm so grateful.

Cooperzen of the day:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Just a few pictures on my baby's 4 month birthday. I love you, baby boy. You make every day better than the last.

Wearing your "I like dirt" shirt at Granny and Pop's

You in your Dino jammies. You are adorable in these!

You and Daddy in your room.

You at the beach wearing your hat like Grandpa Siders use to. He'd be proud of you.

You, me and Dad getting blown away by hurricane Gustav in Destin.

You and Daddy smiling at eachother. I love this photo.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

September Ramblings

My son. Learning things.

Wow! September!?! Are you kidding? I guess I've been lost in baby-raising land for the last 3 months. I can't believe it is already fall but I am so ready for it. The summer here can be scalding and the cooler temperatures of fall are such a nice feeling. Bryan and I have both noticed the *slightly* cooler temps over the last two days and today I finally thought about how it is actually September. We have some nice days ahead of us. I love summer but, man, Georgia really knows how to make you sick of sunshine! I'm definitely crying uncle here.

I've been in a reflective mood over the last few days. I've been trying to finish Cooper's/My pregnancy journal. It's a book I bought on the recommendation of my cousin, Sara, when I first got pregnant. I am so glad I kept the journal and it has been fun to review as I have written the last few entries and printed out pictures to finish it up. I have no idea if he will enjoy it or be embarrassed by it (surely) or if his wife will one day enjoy it- but I am glad I made it and hopefully he will be, too. There are a couple of sections in the book that are designated for journal entries, so I decided to print out some of my blog entries to add to the book. It's been really fun to go back through my entries for the past year. I am always guilty of thinking I'll always remember a moment but then when I go back and read it, I surprise myself with my own words. Was that me? Is that who I was? A person is in constant change, day to day. A journal is one way to capture that person, that feeling. What other ways are there? Video? Pictures? What else? I can say that I've been re-inspired by my own blogging to keep on blogging. Sounds self-important, but I just want to be able to remember.

So, summer is winding down. Seems like such a busy time for everyone- but in a good way. Seems like it stays busy with fun things like vacations and going to the pool. Fall brings the start of family time and holidays. I really love fall for that reason. I LOVE holidays- especially Christmas. I love decorating, dressing all festive (Halloween, Xmas red, New Year's sparkle), and the general hubub of holiday shopping, parties, etc. I can't wait to see Cooper through all of his first holidays. Granny bought him a Thanksgiving onesie on Sunday. Little Turkey. So cute. Holidays, here we come. What will Cooper be for Halloween? There's a cute costume in a catalog I got that is a dragon/dinosaur. Maybe that...

Anyway, I hope to be better at posting here. I hope you enjoy reading as I enjoy typing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pictures from Our Road Trip

Here's some pics of our trip to Ohio and Tennessee. We took Cooper on a family tour to meet his other Great Grandmas. He was such a good little traveler. Everything went very smoothly and the family loved seeing him. Cooper has 4 Great Grandmas. I think that's pretty amazing. These pictures are all from Ohio because I haven't uploaded the pictures from Bryan's camera which have all the Tennessee photos. I'll post those soon so you can see both Grandmas. Enjoy!

Grandma Siders with me and Cooper (who is not happy!). Grandma is 91 and Cooper gets his middle name (Beck) from her maiden name.
I didn't get one single perfect shot of the cousins here. This is my cousin Sara's baby, Isabella. Neither of them was cooperating and I didn't have the camera in focus. Oh well!
Sara and I with the babies. I like how happy we both look here. Proud mamas!
Random shot of Cooper and his Daddy. Both sleepy!
Here's one of my friend Beki and I. She just had her baby on August 4th. A little girl named Phoebe Marie. Congrats to her!
A cute one of Cooper laying on the floor at Grandma and Grandpa's. He's such a cutie pie and getting so big! He weighed 12 pounds 3 ounces at his 2 month check up. That's almost a 5 pound gain since birth!
My Dad is totally in love with this little guy. Cute, huh?
We went to the county fair while we were in Ohio. We're standing in the Midway by all the yummy fair food. I ate a BBQ pork chop sandwich and a waffle cone with homemade ice cream. Yum, I love fair food.
Isabella, Cooper and Grandma. So cute.