Friday, December 28, 2012

A Holly Jolly [white] [unplugged] [Texas-travelin'] Christmas!

Christmas 2012 was one for the record books!  After 6 days, 3 cities, visiting close to 30 family members and dozens of friends, numerous parties and wayyyyyyyy too much dessert I can say that not only did we survive but we had a blast!

Maybe I am getting way too good at setting low expectations for traveling with kids but Cooper slept pretty good and we only had one round of car sickness from him in the 17 hours in the car! Good news is that the police officer that pulled Kyle over 10 miles down the road took one sniff of the car and one look at our naked kid covered in towels in the backseat and let us out of the ticket.  Merry Christmas to us although Kyle says the fine sans puke might have been the easier option!

Santa was good to us and we made a last minute decision to stay a day later in Dallas for a chance at a white Christmas. Cooper loved the "little ices"! Not bad for a TX boy to see snow before his 2nd birthday!

It think I checked my phone/email once a day (if that) and the work blackberry was even more neglected.  Seeing as I'm currently in bed on my iPad mini with my phone and blackberry on the nightstand, it is clear to me that unplugged is a good place to be...sometimes!

Here are some pics from the trip!

Playing with cousins, Robin and Russell!

Kyle posing at the exact spot at the Dallas Arboretum where we were married! Such a good sport!

The Chihuly exhibit...glad they extended this one!

With Cita and Uncle Nat!

Christmas day SNOW!

Hope you had a very merry!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Big Brother Post!

Last night was the last night of Hanukkah for my boys.  Cooper wanted to share with you our family's biggest gift of all this year...

Cooper is going to be a big brother!

He's sporting his very trendy mustache big brother shirt if you can't read the whole thing. We are all so thrilled and can't wait to meet our new little guy or girl come July!

Happy Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Hanukkah presents under the Christmas tree!

Not only did Cooper get to meet Santa yesterday, he got to light the Menorah for the first night of Hanukkah!  Holidays around our house are a little...different.  But good different!  Hanukkah presents are under the Christmas tree and Kyle hikes it up to the roof every year to hang Christmas lights for me, despite never having done so before in his life.  He always jokes that's going to be his 15 minutes of [ironic] fame: "Jewish man breaks both legs hanging Christmas lights for his wife!"

To put it very simply (because it's not always so simple), Kyle is Jewish, I am Christian, Cooper is being raised Jewish but obviously has exposure to both Mommy and Daddy's way of doing things.  It means lots of celebrating, lots of traditions learned and hopefully a little boy that is firm in his roots but appreciative of the ways other people do things.  

Christmukkah, as we like to call it, it the best month of the year.  It feels like "little kid Christmas" for 9+ days of the month.  Here are some pics from yesterday's events:

The day started out like any other, with a little shirtless vacuuming. I swear, I do not endorse child labor but the vacuum and the broom are just about Cooper's favorite toys.  You're welcome future daughter-in-law!

Then, we went to see Santa.  I guess every kid ends up with a picture like this at some point!  I promise he's a [pretty] good boy, Santa.

Later in the evening, on to the first night of Hanukkah!

The toy vacuum was a HUGE hit!

And where should it be stored?  The vacuum closet, of course!

Happy Hanukkah!  Merry Christmas!  Here's hoping whatever you are celebrating makes you as happy as vacuums make my son!

Monday, December 3, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things!

80 degree weather be damned, this weekend I finally marched my butt up to the attic to get the ornament box and I decorated the poor tree that had been sitting naked in my dining room for a week!

What did I find when I opened the box?  Last year's Christmas cards, of course!  I love Christmas cards so much that I can't bear to part with them when the season is over. Too much post-holiday depression to add that one to the mix!  So, every year I pack them on the top of my ornament box and the next year I get to gush over them one more time.  I could't believe all of Cooper's fat little baby friends who aren't fat little babies anymore!  I'm counting on you 2012 Mamas to fill the void!

In the past, I have driven Kyle C.R.A.Z.Y. with the amount of Christmas card displaying that goes on at the house.  He can't stand "clutter" and I go to town filling every nook, cranny, shelf and window sill  with Christmas cards.  This year, I have I new plan.  Thank you Pinterest and you're welcome Kyle!  All you need is a hole punch, an O ring and some Christmas ribbon to make an "add as you get them" Christmas card coffee table book!   I've already started mine:

And finally, the tree!  Having a Jewish husband means two things in terms of my "getting in the spirit-ness": 1) who wouldn't be excited to spend not one but nine days celebrating the holidays in December and 2) I get to decorate my entire tree with no input from the peanut gallery.  There are a few random A&M ornaments and Santas scattered around but for the most part...SHOES!

I'm officially in full holiday mode!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back to the kitchen!

Thanksgiving (and cooler weather) had me back in the kitchen last weekend!

First on the list?  A classic.  The perfect vehicle for delivering Thanksgiving leftovers...the leftover sandwich! Wheat toast, mayo, dressing, gravy, turkey and cran = perfection.  How do you serve up your leftovers?

Second, something new.  When the "cool front" blew in (Hey, its Houston. We take what we can get.), I decided to make a hearty stew.  I threw in some Texas classics (smoked sausage and jalepenos) with some more trendy mix-ins (white beans and kale) and set out to make crock-pot magic...delish!

Here's what I did, should you be so inclined!

White Bean, Sausage and Kale Stew

3 cans white beans
1 sausage link (I used jalepeno sausage)
1-2 jalepenos, finely minced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup kale leaves, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop your veggies and add all ingredients to a crock-pot.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  (Or, 1 hour on medium and 3 hours on low if you get in a time crunch like me!)  As with most of my soups/stews, I served this with a square of cornbread on the bottom of the bowl.  That way you get a little bread in every bite!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A trip to the Zoo!

As we were all stuffed with too much turkey, we decided to skip Black Friday madness and waddle our way over to the Houston Zoo!  Cooper had not been since he was just over a year old, such a difference!  Not only did he love the animals, he wore himself out RUNNING the entire park.

Cooper's favorite exhibit was the reptile house.  This is where I hold my breath and try to be a good "Boy Mom".  He kept telling me "Mama, open it!  Cooper touch it!"  If he had his way, he'd be right in there with them!

My parents were in town too so Mamacita and Grandpa were MUCH NEEDED extra hands (and feet) for chasing.  Uncle "Nat" (= Matt) treated us all and was the designated animal sound maker.  He does an excellent elephant...ask him about it! 

It's Sunday night and I totally have a case of the "go back to work" blues.  I enjoyed an entire week off of work with the little man.  I would suggest not talking to me before 9am tomorrow when I have processed my first cup of coffee and sorted through my hundreds of emails!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day Date

(When the sitter stays, the parents will play!)

Kyle and I had the whole day to ourselves this past Monday.  Cooper's sitter was here and we were both off of work, free as birds!  What did we do?  It wasn't anything fancy. We just bopped around town making plans as we went.  Funny how appealing that is now. This is how we used to spend EVERY. SINGLE. SATURDAY. before the Cooper boy!  I have to say, it was the best date we've had in a long time!

We went to breakfast at Adair Kitchen.  Hope all my Houston people make it there or have done so already.  We were in need of a spot like this on the West side of town!  My Chorizo Toast was ridiculously good and totally trumped Kyle's balsamic eggs, which were good too...but I won!  I guess I was trying to make up for the previous time we were there and he got chicken and waffles to my steel cut oatmeal...womp, womp.

We spent the rest of the day shopping, lunching and out at the movies.  Here's Kyle at Pottery Barn.  He was not impressed with their winter collection!

We finished up the day at the movies seeing Argo.  Have you seen it yet?  Really great.  REALLY intense.

The Day Date was a great kickoff to the holiday week.  On to family, feasts and football!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mamacita's Dressing

I love Thanksgiving.  Family, food and football!  What's not to like?!  Something for everyone.  In fact, I'm a little upset that my neighbors have their Christmas lights already up and turned on.  Back off Christmas, it's TURKEY DAY!

When handing out the Thanksgiving assignments, there is one that never changes Mom's dressing!  It is easily the most talked about fought over dish that is at our table.  My mom has to make two separate casseroles, one to serve and one so the boys don't kill each other fighting for leftovers!  I'm told this was once an old Southern Living recipe that has morphed through the years.  One thing is for sure, it doesn't stick around long!

For those of you who haven't finalized your menu, here's the recipe for Mamacita's dressing!

Mamacita’s Cornbread and Sausage Dressing

1 lb. pork sausage (I usually use “hot”)
1 chopped onion
4 cups crumbled cornbread (Make ahead, better if a little stale!)
1 cup crumbled day old bread (I use French bread)
2 eggs
2 cups chicken broth
½ tsp. poultry seasoning
¼ tsp. salt

Combine sausage and onion in a skillet; cook until browned, stirring to crumble meat.
Combine sausage and remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 12x8x2-inch baking dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes in a 350F oven. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until heated through.

*I usually season the mixture with black pepper, garlic and some Tabasco sauce.
* If you double the recipe, like I have to do with my family, it’ll need to bake for at least an hour.

What are the "must have" dishes on your table?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Liebster Award!

My friend Chelsea @The Life We Love tagged me in the Liebster Awards and I have to answer the following 11 questions about myself.  I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I love the concept!  Chelsea is one of my best friends from A&M and my inspiration to blog.  She is such a good writer, and freaking hilarious too!

1. What is something you've always wanted to do but never have? Why not?
My husband is a man of a million hobbies.  I'm always trying to find mine.  I suppose at the moment my hobbies would be cooking and drinking wine with friends (um, yes, that counts!) but I'm really passionate about music.  In high school I was in musicals and choir and loved to dance.  Something I've always wanted to do would be to somehow morph that into an hobby.  Adult tap dancing class? Hmmm...

2. Fill in the blanks. People sometimes think I'm ___ but really, I'm ___.
This is a tough one for me.  I think I'm a pretty easy person to read?  You tell me!!

3. What are your favorite kinds of gifts to receive?
My favorite gifts these days are gifts of time.  Like when Kyle does the grocery store run so I can relax or watches Cooper while I clean my closet.  I know its lame, but my time is a scarce resource and when someone helps me produce more of it that is a huge gift!

4. What is something someone has done for you that really touched you?
This just happened yesterday...good timing!  I was standing down the street talking with my two neighbor mom friends and watching four kids run around.  There is another little girl just Cooper's age and between the two of them some mom is always scrambling to keep kids out of the street and within sight. Yesterday, Cooper was pushing his toy up and down the sidewalk and I was running after him, calling for him to turn around.  About the 10th time, he turned around and came back on his own and before I knew it all three of the moms were cheering for him and telling him what a good boy he was for listening.  I could really tell that my friends were proud of Cooper too and that touched me!

5. What are three things you really like about yourself?
Sheesh! Um... 1) I like my willingness to try new things 2) I like my ability to make decisions, not a lot of gray area going on over here! 3) I like my eyelashes.  They always say boys get the best eyelashes but I think mine are pretty OK!

6. If you have kids, what are three attributes you hope to instill in them?
Kindness, tolerance of people that are different than you and ambition to go after what they want in life.

7. What is something you struggle with?
Easy.  I struggle every day with balancing my time, energy and focus between work and home.  Oh, mother's guilt!

8. What are you really good at?
I'm really good at listening.  Sometimes I think I missed my calling as a therapist.  Other times I think I missed my calling as a veterinarian, go figure.

9. What do you wish you could be better at?
I wish I could be better at getting more involved in things outside of work and home.  My friends Lyndsey and Whitney are always going going going.  I really admire their energy!

10. Tell a funny joke.
I tell the worst jokes, ask Kyle.  Here goes!
Q: How do you make Lady Ga Ga cry?
A: Poke her face.

11. How many hours do you sleep per night, on average?
Probably 7.  Sometimes 4 sometimes 9 but 7 is a good goal!

There you have it!  I'm nominating the following bloggers to answer the same questions (sorry, I'm too tired to be original!):

Lyndsey @ high heels and handlebars
Allison @ Tidbits and Snippets
Lauren @ Davis Does Dallas

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tricks and Treats

OK, so maybe we're not there yet on Halloween.  According to Cooper, there were way too many tricks this year.  Costume was not a hit, he didn't know quite what to do for the trick or treating and all of the kids knocking on the door were seriously disturbing his Little Einsteins episode.  M&Ms were a huge hit though!

Trick: Iguana costume, not happy

 He stood motionless and sobbing in the front yard.  Bad parents snapping pics?!

Treat: Mama gave up and went with the monster tee (Compliments of Cita!)

Trick: Trick or treating, you want me to say what?

I love his little bag slung over his shoulder!

 Not so sure what to do...

 Going for the candy before we had even left the premises!

Treat: Back for more!  We have really sweet neighbors!

Mama's treat?  His costume is a size 2-3.  Since it was worn all of 2 minutes, it may make a reappearance!!!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Ahhh, Halloween.  The time of year when it's perfectly acceptable to eat your weight in candy! I love Halloween because I feel like its the kick-off to the holiday season. Stretching it? Believe me, Kyle and I did 90% of our Christmas shopping this weekend. Now if only I can remember where I put everything when its time to get everything wrapped!

We took Cooper to a pumpkin patch on Saturday...not a fan!  There were balloons, cookies and kids galore and he wanted no part of it!  Poor guy.

We had much better luck at the park.  Mr. Independent on the slide!

Saturday night we had two Halloween parties!  We were originally going to be Gangham style (hence most of my outfit) but Kyle's jacket came in about 8 sizes too small.  Think Chris Farley in Tommy Boy!  So, we called an audible and went with a much more fitting (in both senses of the word) costume.  My halo is even just a little tilted!

More to come on Wednesday if Cooper allows me to put his Halloween costume on him!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Pumpkin Head

I'm baaaaaack!  One broken phone, two cases of the stomach bug, one ear infection, a hellish week at work, Kyle's birthday party and an Aggie loss to LSU and I am oh so glad to be signed on again!  Whew!

We spent the better part of Sunday afternoon carving pumpkins with Papa.  This held Cooper's attention for a good 15 minutes which is quite impressive if your name is not Mickey Mouse!

I love watching Cooper make memories like this.  Flipping through Kyle's old photo albums there is a picture every year of him doing this with his Dad.  And, nobody loves a tradition more than a family full of Aggies, ha!  Here are the pics from the weekend:

Great pumpkin artistry going on here!

Admiring his masterpiece!

Not exactly the face they had planned, but Papa is a good interpreter!

We drew a crowd.

The finished product!

Pumpkin carving crew!