Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hash it out with #Hashtags

Hi friends!  Welcome to another edition of Hash it out with #Hashtags (still working on the button) as well as an iphone photo dump - because I know you all want to see cute pictures of my kiddo.

- I'm totally addicted to the Candy Crush game.  That game is so sneaky.  You get addicted, then its either ask your Facebook friends to help you or spend a mere 99 cents to get to the next level.  Before you know it, you've spent 6 or 7 bucks on a stupid game.  Only to realize later that a whole bunch of your friends are actually playing it and will totally give you free lives.  I'm totally stuck on level 97.  #Appleisevil

- There is nothing worse than biting into an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie to realize that the chocolate chips are actually raisins #whyruinagoodcookiewithraisins

- Sawyer is teething and growing at the same time which means up every couple hours at night.  Its like when he was a newborn except I have to get up and go to work and/or care for a much more alert infant on minimal sleep.  #teethingmaybethedeathofme

- Due to lack of sleep, I have gotten very angry at my husband several times for no good reason.  #wifefail

- Sawyer is in desperate need of a haircut.  Reminds me of Chandler hair in the Friends Episode "The One with all the Thanksgivings"  #FlockofSeagullshair

-I rarely eat fast food but we drove through Wendy's the other day and got a spicy chicken asiago sandwich.  It was delicious and I've since gotten in 4 (!) more times since then. Note - I did get a side salad with my combo instead of fries.  #damnyouDaveThomas

-We are flying to Virginia tomorrow.  Praying that Sawyer isn't Mr. Cranky pants on the flight.  #don'twannabeTHATmom

-Andrew and I celebrate our 3 year anniversary tomorrow.  I can't believe its already been three years.  He's a great husband and father.  #blessedbeyondallmeasure

Monday, March 18, 2013

6 month update

I swear the last 6 months have been the fastest 6 months that I can remember.  I can't believe that my little man is already a half a year {GASP!} old.  He's certainly proving to mommy that he's no longer a little baby anymore.  Lots of changes this past month - mostly good but more of a reminder that my little guy is not going to slow down in the growing up department anytime soon.

We checked in with Dr. Irwin this morning and Sawyer weighs 19 lbs 2 oz (75-90%) and is 27.2 inches long (75%).  His head is measuring 17.2 in and in the 50%.  We are moving up to 9 month (Carters) and 6-12 month (GAP, Gymboree, Old Navy) clothes mainly for length because Sawyer is going to be tall like his daddy.  He's in size 3 diapers and I've even bought some size 4s for overnight to prevent leakage.  He may be out growing his car seat soon too and we will move to the permanent carseat without the base (which is good because Mommy is having a hard time lugging the 30+ pound carseat and baby combo around).

Developmental milestones
This week Sawyer has truly mastered rolling from his tummy to his back.  Before he could do it but usually didn't do it on purpose.  Now, he does it all the time because he loves to play with his feet.  He can roll from his back to his tummy but his philosophy is "why lay on my tummy?  I can't access my feet that way." 

Sawyer is also mastering the sitting up gig.  He's not steady enough to be left alone sitting up without cushioning (usually the Boppy) but is getting better each day.  He loves to stand too especially in his jumperoo where he plays with the spinning gecko and sun.  He can grab lots of different toys and bring them to his mouth. 

No teeth showing yet but the signs are evident that they are coming.  Lots of drool, chewing on his hands and toys and he likes gum massages.

The biggest news in the last couple of weeks is that we have started solids!  Sawyer is getting the hang of eating from a spoon.  So far we've had sweet potatoes, carrots, pears and squash.  He's also gotten chunks of pair in the silicon feeder gadget which he seems to really like.  He is able to drink water from a sippy cup although he needs a little help tipping it up to get water out of it correctly.

Solids are once a day, and otherwise he is still getting plenty of breast milk.

Mmm, carrots!

For the most part it had been going well until the last 2 weeks.  He's now decided that he no longer wants to be held to nap (which is really a good thing) and had been napping in the swing.  We decided to start trying to nap in the crib (with the guidance of our nanny who has done sleep training with other kids she's worked with).  The first day of napping in the crib he ended up on his tummy.  I thought that was great because if he likes sleeping on his tummy we can quit swaddling and he might start sleeping better.  So, Thursday night we tried sleeping him in his sleep sack on his tummy.  He fussed a few times before Andrew and I went to bed but then woke up at 2 to eat and slept until 8 the next morning.  I thought "great!  There won't be this crazy adjustment time that I've heard so much about".  And then we've had the last 2 nights of being up every couple of hours.  We finally resorted back to the sleep sack with the swaddle - this way he can be swaddled but can get out of it if he wants and turn on his tummy.  Today he decided that he only wanted to take 1 nap (after an hour of fussing and 30 minutes of screaming) and won the battle of skipping his second nap (where mommy had to pass him off before she wanted to throw him and then went and cried in the kitchen).    I'm hoping that once we are back from vacation that we can get on a more consistent schedule and that he will adjust to crib napping before I lose my sanity very soon.

Likes and Dislikes
Sawyer loves his feet - if he's on his back or sitting up, one hand is usually on a foot.  He's even managed to get them in his mouth a few times.  He still likes his wubby and he now likes his orange ball.  He loves playing in the jumparoo and "flying" with daddy and jabbering with anything or anyone who will listen and talk back.  He's likes playing peek-a-boo and getting tickled.  Giggles and smiles are abundant with this boy - especially in the morning time.  He wakes up in the best mood which makes getting up with him all worth it.

As mentioned before, he no longer likes to be held when he's tired and doesn't like his nose being wiped.

We have our moments - more good than bad but this little boy is the highlight of our lives.  I love that he is a pretty happy guy most of the time and flexible.  He is happy in his carseat so we can run errands or go shopping and he rarely protests.  I just wish this time wasn't flying by so fast.  

Here are more pictures for your viewing pleasure :-)

His cousin Lyla was proving to be entertaining

Rocking the Hokie gear

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bacon Stout Chocolate Cheesecake

Yep, you read that right. Bacon, beer, chocolate and cheesecake all wrapped up in one dessert.  This could be considered perfection among many foodies (as well as my husband).

For Christmas this past year, I gave Andrew a 12 days of Christmas themed gifts.  Day 12 was 12 months of pie.  I promised him that I would make him one pie a month all year since pie is his favorite dessert.  Cheesecake counts as pie right? Well it does in my book.  January was a chocolate pretzel pie that ended up being a partial fail (and a total blog fail that I never got a post written for it).  So I'm making up for it with this one and hope to let you see all the pies I made.

I found this recipe pinned on Pinterest and knew that I had to try it.

Bacon Stout Chocolate Cheesecake (recipe from Tide and Thyme)

For the Crust:
4 standard sized graham crackers
1 cup pretzel rods
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted

For the filling:
7 oz dark chocolate (60%)
1 cup stout (a chocolate stout or coffee stout is lovely)
3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tbs flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tbs espresso powder
3/4 cup
beer-candied bacon, finely chopped

For the topping:
2/3 cup hot fudge sauce
1/2 cup beer-candied bacon, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp granulated sugar

Place one oven rack in the middle position, with one rack below. Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor add the graham crackers, sugar and the pretzels and process until it’s the consistency of crumbs. Turn the food processor on, and slowly stream in the butter and process until it resembles wet sand.

Spray the inside of a 9-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the processed crumbs into the spring form pan. Using the bottom of a heavy, flat bottom glass, press the crust very well into the bottom of the pan until well compacted.

In a pot over medium high heat, add the beer and the chocolate, stir until melted and remove from heat. Allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and the sugar and mix until smooth. One at a time, add the eggs, scraping the bottom of the bowl between additions. Pour the cooled chocolate into the mixer and beat until well combined. Lift the head of the mixer and add flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and bacon over the batter, stir on low speed until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan over the crust.

Place the pan in the oven in the middle position. Place a baking dish on the rack below the cheesecake, fill with water.

Bake the cheesecake until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the rack, about 45-50 minutes. This isn’t a situation where a tooth pick inserted in the middle should come out clean, you just need the center to set and it will continue to set as it cools. Remove from oven.

For the topping, warm your hot fudge sauce so that it is pourable. Pour onto the center of the cheescake carefully, and allow to sit and solidify for 15 minutes. Top the chocolate with the chopped bacon. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, and continue whipping on high until stiff peaks form. Place in piping bag fitted with a decorative tip (I used Wilton 2D) and pipe border of whipped cream around the edge.

Source: inspired by Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, base cheesecake recipe from The Beeroness


Cheesecake is my all time favorite dessert.  I usually like it plain and simple so its rare for me to make such a "fancy version".  It was good overall and very rich (which was good because it kept me from eating the whole thing in less than 2 days).  I would prefer it a little sweeter. 
I'm a firm believer in making the recipe exactly the first time to see what it is supposed to be and then making changes (if any) the next time.  FYI - Paula Deen also follows this policy so you know, all the cool kids do it that way.
So, here are my thoughts on how I will change it next time:
- the candied bacon in the mixture itself got kind of chewy so I would skip it in the batter and only use it as a garnish on top
- I would use sweetened cocoa powder or add some extra sugar
- I used a chocolate stout - I might try and oatmeal stout next time to add a bit more sweetness.
- I would give it another 20 minutes or so in the oven - the middle didn't get baked all the way through and you could really taste the beer.
- Definitely use real do it your self whipped cream.  I used the canned stuff (I'll admit it, I was straight up lazy.  I even had all the ingredients to do whipped cream.) and it just melts after a few minutes.
Happy Cheesecake making!

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm still alive!

Hi Friends.

I swear I'm still here - sleep deprived, but here.  My lack of posting is inexcusable.  I've been busy.  Andrew has been busy.  Work is busy.  Having an almost 6 month old just makes life busy.

I have a few posts planned out in my head (and put on a post it on my iphone so I don't forget) that I hope to work on in the next week to get a more regular posting schedule happening.

My mom has been in town the last couple of weeks.  She has been such a great help with Sawyer and things around the house.  We've also been doing a lot of mother-daughter bonding (aka shopping) and decorating the condo that she and my dad bought here in Redmond.  So, not wanting to ignore her, I haven't been on the computer too much.

But I do have a few photos to share and will give you a preview of posts I hope to get out soon:

Sawyer and Grandma

Me and my boy - I love him so much!

He was sporting his super cool Hokie fleece jacket (courtesy of Grandma Hall)  I love his expression in this picture!

Here are a few things in the works:

- A recipe for Bacon Stout Chocolate Cheesecake - true story, it was delish!
- another round of  Hash it Out with Hashtags
- my list of top ten essentials for the first 6 months of baby
- my new plan for saying bye bye to the baby weight
- some things God is teaching me during lent and some things I'm struggling with
- Sawyer's 6 month update {GASP!!}

Stay tuned - I'm really going to try and be better at this

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Parenting books.... how to feel like a terrible parent

iI don't know about any of you but I like to make informed, researched, non emotionally driven decisions.  If there has been an important decision or event in my life (where to go to college/grad school, what kind of dog to get, which Coach purse to buy) I generally try to get as much information as I can and feel like I'm making a well thought out decision.

When we were trying to get pregnant I scoured the internet for fertility tips, bought What to Expect before You are Expecting, stocked up on pregnancy tests, read all about how pregnancy tests work etc.  Once we were pregnant, I read What to Expect When you are Expecting, joined BabyCenter, got weekly emails about the stages of my pregnancy.

Once Sawyer was close to being born I decided read up on the sleep books - Health Sleep Habits Happy Child and Baby Wise.  This was my first real experiencing with parenting books.

See, the pregnancy part is pretty straight forward.  There are actually physical things that happen during pregnancy that you can't dispute.  While there are certainly some controversial topics regarding pregnancy (ie can you safely drink a glass of wine while you are pregnant?) that will offer multiple opinions, most people can't really tell you how to be pregnant.  You just are.

But once the baby comes out, its a whole different ball game.

Now everyone and their dog has a different method of how to get your child to sleep, where he should sleep, what he should sleep in, how long he should sleep, how to interpret his dreams and they all scare the crap out of you that if your child doesn't sleep correctly that they will be cranky and irritable children.  Healthy Sleep Habits and Baby Wise are two different philosophies.  Which one is right?  I don't know.  The Eat, Play, Sleep has kind of worked for us so far but have I been following it to a T, not so much.

Since Sawyer is nearing the 6 month mark, we are looking at starting solids.  Our pediatrician gave us the green light to start solids at his 4 month appointment but I wanted to wait until closer to 6.  Why?  I think the research is pretty clear that closer to 6 months is better for the baby.  They really don't need anything other than breastmilk that first 6 months.  And I'm talking scientific, peer reviewed, published research.  I'm a science nerd, what can I say?

Our hospital offers a Starting Solids class but it was full when I went to go register.  In my parent baby class they talked about a newer concept called Baby Led Weaning (BLW) which basically advocates for skipping purees altogether and just giving your kid hunks of food off of your plate.  I thought that sounded interesting so since I couldn't go to the class I bought the book.

I don't think this cover is exactly the same as mine but close

I started reading it last night and half way through but I was so mad!  Just the way they presented the information was so irritating - it really gave the impression that their method is the right way and any other way leads to picky eaters, developmental delays in swallowing and language, eating disorders (seriously) and juvenile delinquency (okay, not really but it wouldn't have surprised me if they said that).   And none of their "evidence" is scientific - its strictly anecdotal.  Both Andrew and I were spoon fed with purees and I'm pretty sure we are well adjusted people who have no food issues.  I know plenty of kids who were spoon fed who are very good kids and good eaters.

It really irks me that these books are so adamant that their way is superior any other way will be so harmful to your child to the point of scaring people.   As a parent, I only want what is best for my boy.  I never want to cause him any pain or harm.  So much parenting is common sense and doing what works best for you and your baby, not following the advice of some idiot who managed to get a publishing deal.

This book does offer some good information and certain parts of it seem to make sense but overall I want to do to opposite just to spite these stupid authors.  Maybe if they presented it in a less "holier than thou" way I might be more open to it.    I know that every child is different and will respond differently to food.  I don't think that offering Sawyer pureed carrots on a spoon in a couple of weeks will cause him to have phobias of all things orange. 

All in all, I'm glad I read the book and have the info.  Will I put it into practice and skip purees?  You tell me....

carrots, sweet potatoes and pears ready for the freezer
Oh, and if you follow the BLW philosophy - I'm not judging.  I just don't think its the right thing for us.  But I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences...