Saturday, September 20, 2008

Get Your Popcorn, Come Jump and See Balloons

Can you guess what this title means? Yes, as Saturday turned out, we had a fun family day out at the Plano Balloon Festival and our church carnival at St. Jude. The hot air balloons launched around 7:30 am this morning and since the kids were up, we made our way out there to watch the balloons. I got to try out my new birthday present - a Nikon D60 digitial SLR. I have been waiting for five years to get one as my film SLR is from the stone age now.

Jackson and Kaitlyn loved watching the balloons. And there was a fun free kids tent with tons of activities for Kaitlyn. We got back home in time for Jackson to have a nap and we then went to our church's - St. Jude carnival in the afternoon. Here are pictures from the SLR (first time).

We volunteered to man the bounce house. I took tickets for an hour shift and it was fun to work it with other St. Jude volunteers. Kaitlyn and Jackson got a lot of bounce time. When we stuck Jackson in, there was only another little boy, two more gals came in, and they all jumped in a circle around him. He loved bouncing as Kaitlyn did. She watched out for him and went back to the bounce house two more times. Here is a video.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recipes for Exchange

I receive a lot of emails for recipe exchanges. I know it is crazy trying to find something to cook for everyone while little kiddos are running around. I have done my share of looking and have tried several recipes this year that were huge flops!

So I totally get excited when something looks good, is easy to make and actually tastes good. Here are two recipes that I picked up at the Kroeger grocery store. We made them tonight. Brandon thought it was a hit, Jackson thought it was a hit, as well as Kaitlyn and me. I can't scan in the photos because my scanner is not hooked up to my laptop, but they are pretty easy to imagine.

Ravioli Lasagna

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
15 oz. ricotta cheese, divided (I didn't divide it and it was still good.)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 jar spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce
1 pkg. (23 oz.) frozen cheese ravioli (found at Kroeger)

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ricotta cheese, Italian seasoning, egg and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Spread marinara sauce on bottom of 9-ince baking pan. Arrange frozen ravioli in single layer on top. Top with cheese mixture, then ravioli again. Finally top with additional marinara. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand about 15 minutes to cool and set up. Refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 6. (I think the total of this meal for me was around $10-12, and there is plenty for leftovers.)

Spinach-Apple-Bacon Salad

4 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Royal Gala or Granny Smith apple, cut lengthwise into 15 slices
8 cups baby spinach
Sliced red onion
Sliced button mushrooms
2 slices crispy center cut bacon

Combine first 6 ingredients (water through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons dressing over apples; toss to coat. Add spinach, onions, mushroom and remaining dressing; toss to coat/ Crumble the bacon and spring over the top of salad. Refrigerate any leftovers. (This was a yummy salad and the dressing was yummy too. Brandon even ate this! I think the total cost of making this salad for me was $8.)

Watch Out for Beaumont!

This week Ike hit southeast Texas and Brandon's parents decided to stay at their house. They got water, filled up their bathtubs and got their generator out to prepare.

The storm did some pretty crazy damage. There were a lot of trees down, fence/roof damage and flooding. Today the water flooded their street and they could not get out. They were able to make it out a little later for gas and there were fights at the gas station.

The power has been out for a couple of days now. Please pray that they are safe in this mess and that electricity comes on soon. Some reports say a couple of weeks.

Our Walking Boy

Oh man, I have been meaning to update this; however, Kaitlyn has given us a run for our money this week and Jackson is keeping us on our toes with all of his walking around.

I had to add this since we don't get to see Uncle Spencer, Aunt Christy and Cousin Maggie that often. We went to Rainforest cafe and saw the monkeys and elephants moving around in the restaurant.

Kaitlyn no longer needs medicine, but has caught Jackson's cold and is just not herself. This past week, she didn't go to school and we stayed home most of the time to keep her calm because of doctor's orders. She had so much energy she didn't know what to do with it. We went to Kohl's on Thursday to pick up some things for gifts and she was all over that store. She is usually good about staying close, but she wanted Halloween pillows, cups and shoes. None of which were on our list.

I hope this sleeping thing is going to get better soon too. She is still waking up a little bit and not wanting to go to bed, but I think it has been due to the cold more than anything else.

Meanwhile, little dude, little lumberjack, really our big man is taking steps to go everywhere. He had his doctor's appointment last week and he is a whopping 28 pounds and a tall 33 inches. He only gained two pounds since June, but it feels like more. At the doctor's office, he took steps toward the doctor and turned and went back to Brandon. And since Brandon just got Rock Band, we have been playing the guitars. Jackson loves to just dance in front and bounces. He and Kaitlyn start Kindermusik tomorrow and I am sure they will be loving that again.

Here is a video of him today trying to walk in the grass. He plops down twice. It is so funny. He got a little frustrated because he fell.

We were spontaneous and went to the Dallas Zoo today. We didn't stay long, but we got a few photos. They give pony rides and Kaitlyn was dying to ride the horse. Maybe next time. They both liked the kids area and that is a great area for little kids.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Quick update

Kaitlyn is doing great. We are just having a hard time trying to keep her calm and low-key. We are so thankful that everything has gone as well as it has. Thank you for all of your prayers and well wishes. It is tough to be on the computer too long right now, but we will get back to you and post more soon.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

At home

Thanks daddy for the earlier post. We were able to take Kaitlyn home today around 2:30 pm. She was a great patient and a very brave little girl. It was hard for us to see her go into the OR without us. I took a minute to compose myself and Brandon felt sorry for me so he went and got me a taquito for breakfast. We waited about 45 minutes and then a volunteer from our church came to pray with us. At that moment, the doctor came in and said everything went well.

I went to see her and she had already started to wake up and was calling for me. She was moaning a lot, but was able to relax a bit and I told her some stories and sang. In the recovery room, we watched Clifford and she slept. She threw up a little due to the medicine and was talking and very alert.

I really think the tour of the hospital the day before gave her some familiarity. Also, thanks to the book from her godmother, Good-bye Tonsils, she was able to understand what was happening a little bit better. Even her doctor wanted to go buy the book.

When we got home, the first thing she asked for was a sandwich and grapes, and she said she wanted a lot of grapes. Of course, Kaitlyn is very definitive in what she wants and when she is hungry. I made her a mushy jelly sandwich with really soft bread and there was no problem eating it. She drank some, but didn't want much. It was tough, but she did take her pain medication. She later this evening asked for another sandwich and at some strawberry ice cream and some marshmellows. And Brandon made some special Jello Jigglers for her.

She stayed in bed and watched movies until she fell asleep in my lap. I hope she is able to sleep through the night. Oma watched Jackson today and he has a little bit of a cold so we are watching that. I think he was sad that he didn't get to be with Kaitlyn. We definitely missed him since we were at the hospital most of the day.

I will be on my own with them tomorrow and hope to plant Kaitlyn on the couch and have Jackson play by her. Hopefully, it won't be too bad. The nurse said that the next day is usually harder because all the stuff from the hospital wears off.

Kaitlyn's surgery update

All is well with the tough little cookie Kaitlyn! This morning we took her to the hospital at 7:15 to get ready for her tonsils and adnoids to be removed. They gave her some "silly juice" before they took her in to calm her down. The doctor came back later to tell us that everything went great and that she did a very good job with the anesthesia. They found that there was a lot of scarring on her tonsils that made her very prone to infections, and her abnoids were very much blocking her nasal passage, so the decision to have the surgery turned out to be a very good one!

Now, Kaitlyn is just resting in her hospital bed with Sarah by her side while she watches cartoons. We're scheduled to be released at 1:30 today to go home for some good R&R.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy First Birthday Jackson

It was a weekend of Happy First Birthday festivities for Jackson. We had a family birthday party on Saturday. Luckily, Brandon's parents from Beaumont, came just in time. There were mandatory evacuations on Saturday and they came up on Friday, before all of the miserable traffic. We were all thankful that they were able to be here with all of the crazy weather going on in southeast Texas and Louisiana. We hope all the family in Louisiana is okay from the wind and rain of the hurricane!

Back to Saturday, we had barb-b-que and ate cake. I found a great little blue punch recipe. I was excited about it because I had a pink punch for Kaitlyn's party. (I am going to post a pic of both Kaitlyn and Jackson on their first birthday. Remind me. I don't have my pictures right now because my PC is dead. A computer guy is taking all of my stuff off to put on an external hard drive. Yuck!)

Jackson dug into his cake and smashed it like crazy! You will see a photo on photobucket here. He loved the cake! He also loved his presents. His favorite were the rocking chair from Oma and Papa, the fun, squishy chair from Gigi and Big Daddy, and his choo-choo train toy chest from his godmother (nanny).

Here is video of him getting into his cake.

On Sunday, we met up with Gigi, Big Daddy and Maggie at the Rainforest Cafe for a little dinner. Jackson loved looking at all of the animals as well as cousin Maggie, who was taking notes for her upcoming birthday. Kaitlyn loved it too and got a big drink holder with a straw. The waiter brought Jackson a little ice cream and sang Happy Birthday. He wanted to dig into it just like the cake.

On Monday, his actual birthday, we had some friends over for a pool party and more cake. He loved smashing the cake. Kaitlyn helped get him started again. He didn't have a problem in front of everyone. Although, he was done in just a couple of minutes. I think all of the festivities have worn the kids out. Jackson has been in bed at 6:30 pm and Kaitlyn in bed asleep at 7:45 pm and waking up around 8 am.

Here are photos from all of the festivities.

One last video, I had to post. Uncle Stephen and his girlfriend Amy are always a ball of fun when they come over and play with us. Uncle Stephen likes to be our fun little goof ball. Here he is trying to jump through three floaties.