Cruising into Christmas

I wanted to post yesterday, really I did... but a sniffly clingy little Caroline kept me from typing with more than one hand and really I am just not dedicated to do more online than check my email and upload photos with one hand. You got your pictures... and now you'll get more than a mouthful =)

I found out this morning when I dropped Caroline off at school that her center closed last Thursday at 1pm and that some parents had difficulty getting up the hill to the parking lot and had to park at the bottom and walk their children back down. HOW DANGEROUS!! I definitely feel like I made the right decision to keep her with me as we were together and safe & sound at home by 2:30, though we did have to pay for the day, but safety has no price right?

What does have a price is our holiday gifts for Caroline's caregivers.

We opted to go with Visa Gift Checks for the girls, cards with a sweet thankful note, and a letter of commendation which I will also send to the directors and the CEO to be placed in their files and hopefully utilized during their annual performance reviews. (Thanks Sundry for that idea, she's right! The best gift I could give them is better pay!)

Mr. Eric will get a DD gift card.

Lounge Lizards
The McFamily had a nice relaxing weekend at home together before the craziness of this weekend warms up.

Steve got home on Friday mid morning and went into work for a bit. Caroline and I headed to swimming (just one class left this session!? Should we do it again?) and then did some errands. We completed our holiday shopping later that night and WATCHED A MOVIE =) As Netlfix fans, it had been way too long since we opened a bottle of wine and plunked ourselves in front of a good flick. Blood Diamond made me cover my eyes and shake my head. Like many other women, I wear a diamond engagement ring and more recently pretty diamond studs. I know that my holiday gift from Steve this year is an "upgrade" of said studs. There is just no way to tell for sure that a diamond is not a conflict diamond and my stomach lurches a bit wondering if someone may have paid their life for these pretty stones I wear on my finger and in my ears, or what deadly weapons the sale of these stones may have purchased.

There was some serious lounging in the house on Sunday. Caroline literally went from one pair of pjs to the bath to another pair of pjs. Save for shoveling, it was lounge wear and jammies for all of us all day. We were spared down here compared to the reports we got from the north when they were shoveling out of more than 10 inches. Our precipitation was mostly freezing rain and sleet, which made shoveling an absolute bear. SO heavy and LOTS of ice chopping.

Veggies, you have met your match and her name is applesauce
More changes in Miss Caro's dinner time routine. We feed her the more challenging part of her meal, the veggies, before we sit down. She seems to be more open to them when she has your complete undivided attention and before she has access to the fun finger foods. She is tolerating the thicker chunkier Earth's Best meals much better now than even last week it seems, though I often add in a healthy spoonful of applesauce to make it a bit more appealing to her.

I made Chicken Corn Chowder (recipe below) this weekend and pureed some for her before adding the cream and bacon, but I think the part I chunkified was "too chickeny" so she wasn't a big fan, but I am hopeful that she will be doing chunky table food before we know it. I think if I had used more stock, just one piece of chicken and the veggies instead it would have been better. Lord knows it will taste better than the jars right?

Support this
Yesterday I had my support group, which I decided as of February will be moving to a day that I normally work for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that it is on my day off. I don't feel like it is a quality day with Caroline when I have to come in because all my running around and time with Caroline is structured on getting to work and getting her there is a decent mood. Not to mention that my 90 minute support group often stretches from just after 1 until 4pm, which is practically a half day people. So we're done with that game, just two more Monday sessions.

After dinner clean up, Steve was supervising end of the night playtime and Caroline was climbing him like she always does. He said she stood for a few moments without holding onto him! Steve was laid out on the floor, a Daddy jungle gym. I went and sat at the end of Steve's legs, while she stood up by his face and when she saw me, she CRUISED over to me. To assure that this was not a fluke I moved up by his head and poof she cruised over to me again. (Cruising is sort of like walking, but is done by holding oneself up against something for balance while moving, in this case Steve.) She is, in a word, AMAZING.

"Operation Bury the Bottle" Kicks Off
Later I'll tell you all about the new cups I got her for the transition from bottle to cup. Sara and Michelle helped out a lot with this and I am hopeful that she will start drinking her milk from a cup lickity split. It is unreal to think that in just over a month she will be done with nursing and we'll be buying whole milk for her?!? I am pretty proud of where I am with all this. I have embraced this most special time with her and though I am sure it will be sad and challenging, it is just another sign in what feels like a sea of reminders that our baby girl is moving into toddlerhood faster than we even know.

Step one, a reversal of milk and book at bedtime. Lately she has been falling asleep a few times a week while nursing and though it is so much easier, it is not a path we want to go down. Stay tuned as we work to retire her bottles and move onto sippys.

Chicken Corn Chowder
Recipe from Nana Cindy
written from memory

5 slices of bacon sliced (we just make that small package with 10 slices or so because we tend to nibble on it while the rest of the meal cooks)
3-4 chicken breasts, cubed 1" pieces
1 onion chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
3 potatoes chunked
1 bag of frozen corn (recipe calls for 1/2 to be pureed, which I seldom do for time's sake)
1 large can of chicken stock (48 oz)
8-10 oz water
1 cup heavy cream
s/p to taste

Slice bacon into inch slices and brown in large soup pot
Remove to bowl to drain (we put it in a bowl with a paper towel and the nibbling commences)
Add chicken, onion, and celery to pan
When chicken is browned and onion clear add potatoes, corn, stock, water
Bring to boil and then simmer for 30 minutes
Add cream and bacon, cook for 5 more minutes
S/P to taste


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