Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's The Little Things

Lately I haven't been blogging much for a few reasons. For one, I was pretty sleep deprived last week, especially the night that Ezzy decided to wake up every 40 minutes and then get up for real at 4:30 am (thankfully Joe took over at that point). Also, we haven't been doing a ton of "blog-worthy" stuff, or taking many pictures. But then I came across this blog which talks about taking a moment each Wednesday to reflect on the little things that made us happy the past week. And since my only real resolution this year is to enjoy this special time when Ezzy is quickly growing out of his baby phase and turning into a toddler, it makes sense to enjoy the little things in our lives that make us smile, and not only the stuff that we remember to record on camera. So here a few of the things that made me happy this past week:

  1. A mid-week lunch date with Joe. He started a new job right down the street from our house which means no more hour + commutes each way for him, and more family time for all of us.
  2. Getting kisses from Ezzy. I mentioned in his 8 month update that he had stopped acting repulsed when we kiss him, and has actually started reciprocating, and it warms my heart every time he pauses whatever he's doing to give me a kiss. 
  3. Ezzy said "baba" when I handed him his bottle the other night. Of course, he says baba a lot when there are no bottle in sight, so it may or may not have been his "first word" - but it is a reminder that his first words are right around the corner. It's going to be so fun to finally get a glimpse of what's going on in his mind. 
  4. Our first parents' night out. Technically it was in the afternoon, and Ezzy was never more than a mall length's distance from us, but it was still really nice to have some alone time while watching Saving Mr. Banks.
  5. Bedtime story time - in honor of Saving Mr. Banks, I picked up Mary Poppins from the library and have been reading that to Ezzy after his bath each night. It's a really cute story, and there are only so many times I can read the same picture book without losing my mind.
  6. And, of course, a not so little thing was getting to spend time with Gangy and Grampa over the weekend.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Gangy & Grampa come to town

Gap has Paddington books and clothes! LOVE!
As always, the weekend went by way too fast. Gangy and Grampa came down from Friday to Sunday and we spent a lot of time at the new Panera Bread in town (I'm addicted to their spinach power salad!), and in our living room watching Ezzy play. Ezzy got to show off his new tricks: giving kisses and shaking his head back and forth. Joe and I got to go on our first movie date in over 8 months, while Gangy and Grampa walked around the mall with Ezzy. We planned to see American Hustle, but the timing didn't work out, so we watched Saving Mr. Banks instead, which was really good. Now I have an urge to watch Mary Poppins. It's crazy to me that P.L. Travers didn't want Julie Andrews or Dick Van Dyke to play Mary Poppins and Burt. I couldn't imagine the movie without them.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"They Grow So Fast"

2 days old vs. 8 months 
It seems like every time I go anywhere with Ezzy at least one person tells me, "enjoy it while you can, they grow so fast." Which is true. Joe and I were marveling over the picture above a few days ago. He used to be so tiny in his carseat, and now his feet are hanging off the edge and the belt needs to be adjusted to the third highest setting. But every time someone tells me that, I never really know how to respond. I feel like I'm just constantly saying, "I know" or "so I've heard" or "yeah, he's already grown so much." I know they mean well,  and they're probably just wistfully thinking about when their children were this young, but I guess it's just odd to me how often random strangers comment about Ezzy. Like I walked into the store today, and immediately one of the checkers just exclaimed "His cheeks!" I assume she meant his chubby cheeks are cute, but again, what do I say to that? "Yeah...his cheeks!"? or "Thanks?" or look the other way and pretend I didn't hear (which is Joe's normal response)? Maybe being around a baby who only yells nonsense at me all day long has dampened my ability to have small talk with adults.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Foodie Friday: 4 Interesting Ways to Eat Cauliflower

Cauliflower crust pizza
I have never been a huge fan of cauliflower, probably because the only way I've eaten it is raw on a party platter with ranch dip. But lately I've been seeing tons of cauliflower recipes floating around Pinterest, so if you're interested to know how they actually taste, I've tested a few out for you.
Cauliflower fried "rice"
1. The first recipe I've tried, and my hands down favorite, is this cauliflower fried rice. When I first read the ingredients list, I figured there was no way it could be that simple and actually taste like fried rice. I even almost bought a ready-made packet of fried rice seasoning at the grocery store, but it was not vegetarian. So I decided to do something I almost never do and I followed the recipe exactly. I'm so glad I did. It takes about 15 minutes to make and tastes amazing. I don't have to trick Joe into eating veggies, but I really think you could trick someone into thinking they're eating rice instead of cauliflower. I've made it at least half a dozen times and Joe and I both love it. For anyone who cares about calorie-related stuff, one cup is about 85 calories, compared with 220 calories for a cup of generic fried rice at a restaurant.

2. I bought some purple cauliflower at the farmer's market, and I wasn't really feeling purple fried rice, so I decided it was time to branch off and try something new. That's where this cauliflower crust pizza comes into play (photo above). I used almost the whole head of cauliflower, so I doubled the rest of the ingredients and made two medium/smallish-sized crusts. Unlike the cauliflower fried rice, I don't think you can trick someone into thinking they're eating real pizza. While it is possible to pick up and eat with your hands, it's much easier to eat with a fork. The consistency isn't quite the same as regular pizza dough, but the taste is really yummy. And it's only 265 calories for the whole personal-size cauliflower pizza, compared with about 600 for a Pizza Hut personal-sized cheese pizza, so I'll definitely be making this again.

"Rice" Stuffed Peppers - (it tastes more appetizing than it looks, I promise!)
3. As a variation on the cauliflower fried rice, I "riced" some cauliflower and sauteed it with soy chorizo, onions, corn, and mushrooms. I added that mixture to bell pepper halves, topped it with some enchilada sauce, and cooked it in the slower cooker on low for about 5 hours. I added cheese for the last fifteen minutes. Once again, so yummy and so filling! (240 cals per pepper half.)

Cheesy Cauliflower Bites
4. The most recent recipe I've tried are these cheesy cauliflower bites. They looked like a vegetarian version of kid comfort food, and they didn't disappoint. They came together really fast, I liked the texture, and they were very flavorful. In the future I'll experiment with different seasonings - maybe a cajun/spicy flavor for next time? These are only 98 calories per 6 nuggets. 

Another recipe that I'm excited to try, but haven't gotten around to making yet:
Next up, Joe and I are working our way through Buzzfeed's 21 High Protein Vegetarian Meals.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

More Family Photos

Last time we got our pictures taken at JC Penney, they forgot one of the items we ordered and made it up to us by giving us tons of coupons, so we decided to go back and get some more non-Christmasy shots of Ezzy, as well as some Valentine's Day photos (which will make their appearance later). That one of Ezzy standing between us in his overalls may just be my new favorite photo of all time. It was also one of the only photos that he smiled for on that particular day. We scheduled the shoot for after his nap, he had a full tummy and a clean diaper, so we thought he'd be in his usual cheerful mood for the photos. We were WRONG. He started crying and fussing on the very first pose, and it was a production just to get these few decent shots. Of course, as soon as we were done, he was back to his normal smiley, giggly self. Silly boy.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weekend Recap: Food and Hiking

Weekend recap on a Wednesday? That's because it's felt like Sunday for the past four days. Joe's been home the past few days, so my normal way of telling the weekends from weekdays apart is gone. We've been spending our extra time together doing some family hiking, trying out a cute little tea place in Pasadena, enjoying a few brunches, and buying and assembling furniture from IKEA. Let's hope this dresser lasts longer than some of my previous furniture-assembly attempts.

Ezzy had his first real solid food - frozen waffles! Literally, the waffle started off frozen and then he gummed it into little pieces. I was a little nervous, but we kept an eye on him and he thoroughly gummed each piece before swallowing. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

8 Months Already??

Ezzy - this past month we saw such a huge leap in your interaction with everyone around you. You like making eye contact with strangers and then smiling when they finally look at you. Or sometimes you just want to stare them down with a stony look, which is cute now, while you're young, but you probably shouldn't try that once you're older. You try to ham it up for Mommy and Daddy, and I think you like getting giggles out of us just as much as we like to get them from you. One of my favorite new things from the past month is that you've started giving me and Daddy kisses. Before you would scrunch up your face and turn away to avoid any kisses like the plague. Now when I say "give Mommy a kiss" and pucker up, you look at me with your mouth slightly open, waiting for the kiss. Sometimes you also stick your tongue out, so we're still working on your technique, but it's the thought that counts. My other favorite development in the past month is your infectious laugh. Lately you get into fits of uncontrollable laughter, and it is absolutely hysterical to watch. Of course we caught it on video, so you can check out the cuteness below. Now that you're 8 months old, you suddenly seem like such a big boy. In just a few short months you'll be turning 1! And then you'll be walking and talking. Daddy and I were looking at pictures and videos of when you were just a few weeks old, and we would try so hard to get any emotion or smiles from you. Now you have such a big personality, it can't be contained. We are so excited to be on this journey with you, watching you grow and learn and explore the world around you. We love you more than you will ever know.

Some 8 month stats: Ezzy weighs 17 lbs, up from 15 lbs, 14 ounces at 7 months. He just moved up to size 3 diapers, he's officially outgrown his 6 month pajamas, and he's wearing some 9 month onesies (but still in the 6 month pants). 

Our 8 month daily routine: Our current routine is almost exactly the same as our 7 month routine. The only real difference is that Ezzy's sleep schedule sucks more than ever. For awhile he was waking up every two hours. One night, after I nursed him like five times in a row and he still refused to go to sleep, I gave him a bottle out of exasperation and then he slept for seven blissful hours. So then I became convinced that formula was my magic ticket to getting some sleep and began experimenting with giving him a bottle of formula some nights, in addition to nursing him. Unfortunately we haven't managed to duplicate that magical seven hour stretch again, but we've had a few four hour stretches, and even five hours one night, so we're back to only waking twice per night, which is an improvement. I'll take it. 

Some notable changes from last month:
  • Ezzy (somewhat accidentally) ate real solids the other night. Not the pureed mushy stuff, but a frozen waffle (yes, it was still frozen when we gave it to him). We thought it would help with his teething, but he managed to defrost it with his gums within a few minutes, and then he chomped it to little pieces and ate about a quarter of it. We were keeping an eye on him, but he seemed to really enjoy it. And today he had little bitty pieces of pasta, which he loved.
  • He's getting really good at picking stuff up off the floor while he's sitting and pushing himself back into the sitting position. He's also good at grabbing onto stuff and pulling himself from laying down to sitting up. 
  • He's still only pushing himself backward, instead of crawling forward. I've been feeling like crawling is right around the corner for the past few months, but I'm just going to enjoy these last few days of immobility before I really really have to keep my eyes on him. 
  • Last month he developed his chuckle/giggle, and his newest thing is to get into little hysterical fits of laughing. It's the funniest, most infectious laugh. He'll be gasping for air and throwing his head back and then start laughing all over again. And it's always over silly things, like a water bottle or a plastic bag.
  • We've been doing our daily walks in the stroller, and he actually seems to like it for the most part (minus a few meltdowns).
  • He's so much more active. It's like trying to hold a squirmy wild animal. He is constantly reaching for anything we have in our hands, or trying to rip the skin off our face, or sticking his fingers in our mouth. He's very energetic and very inquisitive.

Ezzy likes (in addition to his 7 month favorites):
  • Ripping up paper or napkins. This started at Christmas time, and he still gets a kick out of it. He'll rip a napkin in half while screaming like he's a mini Hulk. It's kinda cute, and kinda scary. I can already imagine the stuff he'll destroy once he can move around.
  • Ceiling fans.
  • Water bottles (such a consistent favorite, it's worth mentioning monthly).
  • Watching moving cars.
  • Being tickled.
  • Throwing stuff on the floor.
  • Vitamin bottles.
  • Cardboard boxes.
  • His TV remote.
  • Bouncing up and down.
  • Giving kisses.
  • Food! (Again, he loves it so much, it's worth mentioning again.)
Ezzy dislikes:

  • Tummy time.
  • Potatoes.
  • When Joe or I leave.
  • Not getting enough sleep (which sadly happens daily).
  • Our most recent photographer at JCP. He kept crying at the sight of her. Luckily we still got a few cute pictures.
  • Our friend's son, who is only a few months older. We thought he'd be intrigued by another baby, but he kept crying at the sight of him.

Monday, January 6, 2014

25 Days of Giving Final Recap

In a nutshell, my 25 Days of Giving turned out to be more along the lines of 19 Acts of Giving in a 36 Day Period. Not quite as catchy. Still, even though I wasn't that on top of it, I did more giving back this year than previous years, and that was the point. In the future, when Ezzy is big enough to understand what's going on, I'd like to adopt something along the lines of these kindness elves for the month of December. I think it's such a cute idea, and I follow her on Instagram and she pulls the elves out randomly throughout the year which I love.

Here's a recap of the last few Giving projects I crossed off my list in December/January:

14. Pay for coffee for the person in line behind me. This was on my Random Acts of Kindness list, and I saved it for Christmas Eve, which worked out well, like a little Christmas present for a random stranger. I've seen a lot of people doing this on Instagram, and it seemed like so much fun. I was in line at the Coffee Bean drive through, and I just gave the barista a $20 and asked them to pay for the person behind me as well. I'm not sure what that person ordered, but I do know it only took about two seconds for them to place their order, so I'm assuming they only got one drink. And that brings me to # 15...

15. Extra large tip for a barista - I gave the rest of the $20 to the barista as a tip. He was extremely surprised and thanked me at least three times. I'm sure not very many people leave tips at the drive through, so it must have been unexpected.

16. Donations for the library - I've accumulated quite a few bargain books from Barnes and Noble during the years I worked there. I thought I would read them, but then never got around to it. And since my "to-read" list grows much faster than I can cross books off of it, I figured I'd get rid of some of those books collecting dust and save my time for the books I really want to read.

17. Baked treats for our landlady - I decided she deserved them more than any of the people I originally thought of because she always responds quickly whenever anything needs fixing, and she's so sweet and has bought Ezzy a few presents this year.

18. I took about six cans of baby formula that were sent to me for free as samples to the local food bank.

19. Good online reviews for our favorite businesses - honestly, I almost forgot about this one, and I just now went and reviewed a handful of our current fave restaurants. I'll have to do this more frequently, since we have all kinds of food pics for various places, we may as well put them on Yelp.

If you're interested, here are the other 25 Days of Giving posts:
25 Days of Giving: Part 1
25 Days of Giving: Part 2
25 Days of Giving: Part 3