Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hannah Grace, the little mommy

I'm not trying to be that parent, but I am blown away at how well Hannah Grace observes my mothering and then plays it out in her own little world. This morning I was taking a few pictures of her, when I realized she was mothering her own doll: 

Doll in her left hand, she picks up a pillow with her right to use as a mattress. 

After placing the 'mattress' on the 'bed', she lays her doll on top and grabs a blanket. 

Covering the doll. . . 

Just right. 

I pray with Hannah Grace before bedtime, and sometimes I check on her before she falls asleep. I'm guessing this is what she's mimicking. 

Looking over her shoulder. . . 

Rock. . . 

and rock. . . .

and rock to sleep. 
Obviously I can't rock Hannah Grace's crib, but I do sometimes sit in the glider in her room and rock her then, so maybe that's what she's thinking? Either way, I thought it was adorable.

I apologize for the blurriness and up closeness of some of the photos. My telephoto lens happened to be what was on my camera, so 75mm was the farthest I could get from Hannah Grace.

Also a fun fact: the doll Hannah Grace is playing with is actually one of my old Cabbage Patch baby dolls that my mom bought me when I was three!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Yesterday our Sunday school class went to a corn maze/farm with kid's activities. John and I have gone to these before, but this was our first as parents, and I've gotta say, they're way more fun when you have a child old enough to participate. Hannah Grace slept the first half hour or so we were there, but we spent a good chunk of that time waiting on everyone, collecting money (for the group discount), and going through a makeshift farm that let you plant seeds and pick cotton. Once Hannah Grace woke up, we took her to see the animals, let her run around a hay-filled barn loft, play in a corn box (same idea as a sand box, but with corn kernels), and go down a giant slide (at least twenty feet, if not longer) several times. We also went through the corn maze and went on a "hayride". I put it in quotations because the trailer we were on didn't actually have any hay on it; oh well. Somehow all of that took three hours, and we decided to leave because both Hannah Grace and I were getting tired. After we got home, John put Hannah Grace down and she fell asleep almost immediately. After tinkering on my laptop for a few minutes, I decided to lay down, too (at this time it was almost 5pm), and didn't wake up for two hours! Hannah Grace had to be woken up, and I was afraid she wouldn't sleep very well that night. Thankfully after dinner (we definitely went out), she only stayed up until 9:15 and then slept until 7:15! Usually she sleeps eleven hours, but I was expecting much worse since she took a two hour nap right before bedtime. 

And can you believe that despite such a fun, photographable day, I FORGOT my camera! Not only that, I also left my phone in the car, so I didn't have anything to document our activities! Lesson learned, always remember the camera! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hannah Grace and Shoes

I don't know how it happened, but at seventeen months (today!), Hannah Grace already loves shoes. She will often bring John or I just one shoe for us to put on her, and she'll wear it half the day, even with her other foot bare. Earlier today I carried her into her room for a quick diaper change, and the drawer where I keep her shoes was open. She noticed her collection (for the record, she has four pairs: one black dress, one brown dress-- both purchased at a consignment store, and the two I'm about to talk about), and I knew she wanted to wear a pair. 

Once I finished changing her diaper, I pulled the following shoes out of the drawer and put them on Hannah Grace's feet: 

These are Hannah Grace's fall/winter/until she grows out of them everyday shoe. They also happened to match the outfit she was wearing earlier (not that it mattered, especially since we weren't going anywhere). I strapped them on her feet, and Hannah Grace began happily trotting about in them. I walked in our office for a moment, turned around, and Hannah Grace had these shoes in her hands: 

She wanted me to take off the pretty, pink, somewhat pricey PedPed's, and replace them with these. 

I'd bought these shoes on clearance at Kohl's late last summer because Hannah Grace was quickly growing out of her Crocs, and since the weather wasn't cooling, she still needed a sandal. They were $6 at Kohl's (yay, clearance!), so that was enough to look past the slight boy-ish look of the sandal. And as it turned out, paired with a skirt (or really anything in Hannah Grace's closet), these look quite nice as a girl-ish sandal.  

ANYway, the point of this post is that my seventeen month old daughter already has an opinion about shoes.

 Although, she has so much pink in her wardrobe, I don't blame her for wanting something different!

Friday, October 14, 2011

lens talk.

. . . In other words, this will bore most of you.

It appears that, after almost two years and hundreds (if not a couple thousand) pictures, my Canon 50mm 1.8 lens is biting the dust. Considering it's made of plastic (except the actual lens part) and only cost a hundred bucks, two years is a decent life span.

When I began researching prime lenses, the 50mm 1.8 came highly recommended by several photographers, especially as a beginner's lens. It was inexpensive enough not to regret the purchase if you wound up not using the lens very often, but the pictures it took were quite good. Many of the reviews I read also stressed that this lens was not a long term lens; it would ultimately stop working (or at least stop working properly). The reviews said if you were a serious photographer wanting a more serious prime lens (at this focal length), then you could step up to the 50mm 1.4, which is a couple hundred dollars more, but the quality is much better. In other words, more metal parts. Being my first 'real' lens (and not knowing how well I would like it), I opted for the 1.8 and received it as a Christmas present in 2009.

Canon 50mm 1.8
It has been a great lens, especially in low light and for taking portraits of Hannah Grace. However, over the last month or so I've noticed the auto-focus slowing way down. Like, to the point of making me think it's in focus and then not actually allowing the camera to take the picture. I then tried to focus manually, and that didn't work. And this morning it wouldn't even work for awhile, so I know it's just about shot. 

Which means, I need a new one. O.k. I don't need it, but I use it all the time, so it would be nice to have a replacement. Only this time I think I'll upgrade to the 1.4. Of course, this is all happening in my head and likely not going to be a reality for awhile (since we have to you know, live off the money John makes). One of these days.

Canon 50mm 1.4

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

on food.

I'm learning that meal planning does not come easy to me. It's not that I can't plan a weeks worth of meals; I just can't plan a weeks worth of meals for a month. Every time I go to the grocery store and buy two weeks worth of food, a large portion of it doesn't get eaten because we either wind up going out of town, have guests visiting (which somehow always leads to eating out), or John works crazy shifts that results in him grabbing dinner out and leaving me with no desire to cook for one.

Honestly, I think I just need to be more disciplined. And really pay attention to the calendar to make sure I don't buy food for days when we won't be here or when I know we'll be eating out.

But then, on the rare occasion a weeks worth of meals does work out, I always, always, always forget something and have to go back to the store two more times that week.

So along with being disciplined and paying attention to our calendar, I need to be one heck of a list maker.

I also thought I'd use this post to share two recipes I tried out this week: Cheeseburger Macaroni and Crispy Shrimp Pasta. I ran across the shrimp pasta recipe some time ago and thought I'd give it a try this week. As I was scanning the ingredients, I noticed a blurb at the bottom for the Cheeseburger Macaroni. Since I'm not a big fan of using Hamburger Helper, I thought this homemade twist on a box dinner sounded yummy!

I tried the Cheeseburger Macaroni first, and it did not disappoint, which was surprising considering how few ingredients it needs!

I increased the amount of noodles and cheese a little so we could save the extra for another meal. Other than being super tasty, my favorite things about this meal is how easy it is to make and it makes for a super cheap meal! This will definitely be showing up at dinner again!

I cooked the Crispy Shrimp Pasta last night, and it, too, was quite tasty!

 This was the first time I cooked with raw shrimp, but it was super easy! Like the Cheeseburger Macaroni, this pasta did not call for very many ingredients, and I had almost everything in my refrigerator or pantry, so this was also an inexpensive meal!

I pinned both of these pastas on the 'Rumbly in My Tumbly' board on Pinterest, if anyone is interested in using them in the future!

Monday, October 10, 2011

(more) catching up

-Hannah Grace was sick Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, and I on Thursday and Friday. Nothing major, just a small bug, but it was enough to leave me utterly exhausted by Friday night. 

-Drove to my Mom's on Friday night, had breakfast with John's brother Stephen and his wife Laura Saturday morning (and we did a little discount store shopping), then drove back to my Mom's house for the rest of the afternoon. That evening we all went to my aunt and uncle's house for a bonfire/weenie roast/chili. I hadn't been to one in several years, so I was happy John was willing to make the drive just for this event (we actually didn't know we'd be seeing Stephen and Laura until the day before). After we finished eating, my uncle had a trailer with small hay bales hooked up to his truck, and he took us all on a hayride! We managed to drop Hannah Grace's pacifier right before we got on the trailer, but she actually did really good without it. Once we got back from the ride, John, Hannah Grace, and I had to drive back to Jackson so John could be at church early to play drums. That was fun to watch, especially since his playing on Sunday mornings doesn't happen very often. 

. . . well, I guess y'all are caught up, because today is Monday, and all I've done is organize Hannah Grace's winter dresses, go to Wal-Mart, and eat lunch with John. My posts should be more consistent this week!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

catching up

Two major things have happened with Hannah Grace over the last two weeks:

1. She has been consistently sleeping all night and waking up around 7:15. I realize most nine month old babies have mastered this, but Hannah Grace held tight to her 5AM 'bottle'. I'm not much of an advocate of crying-it-out, so I never tried to force her off this feeding. This was mostly because she would down the formula in a few minutes and immediately fall back asleep, so it wasn't like she would drink half and then want to play. I believe she truly was hungry. Anyway, I'm happy to say that she has been sleeping through that feeding, and I am waking up feeling much more refreshed!

2. Speaking of formula, Hannah Grace is FINALLY on whole milk. Again, this is something most twelve to thirteen month olds have accomplished, but Hannah Grace did not like the taste of milk for such a long time. I started and stopped the 'weaning' process several times, but it never went anywhere. Finally last week I bought a half gallon of milk and began mixing (half and half) with the formula. From there I gradually decreased the amount of formula until a few mornings ago, and I gave her straight milk. She drank it right up and hasn't been on formula since!

As for me, I've begun to freeze a few meals, including breakfast burritos, calzones, and white bean chicken chili. While I originally planned on these (well, the chili and calzones) to serve as dinners on nights I didn't feel like cooking, I may use them for my lunches, too. I don't know why I ever thought freezing meals was so difficult-- it really isn't!

We've had a nice weekend. I needed to run a few errands yesterday and asked John if he wanted to join me. He said yes, and we made plans to just have a quick lunch at Sam's before we picked up a few items. However once we got to the Sam's parking lot, he asked if I'd rather go to Cheddar's. Yes. Yes I would. It was nearing noon, and Hannah Grace hadn't had a nap yet, so I was a little nervous she would be really fussy, but she did great! I think letting her just sit with us in the booth (rather than put her in a high chair) made her much happier, and I don't really blame her. Those chairs don't appear to be very comfortable. Anyway, our lunch was delicious-- John had a huge chicken tender plate, and I had grilled Cajun catfish, served with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. Hannah Grace just ate off our plates :) We both got water, so after a tip we paid right at $20, which was great, considering John still had food leftover!

After Sam's we went to Big Lots where I got a few cleaning products, and then we came home. We watched MTSU play their homecoming game and just had a nice quiet evening. Today was similarly laid back-- church, lunch, Titans game, cleaning, John mowed, and a simple dinner.