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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Feel Good Meal

Chicken and Bean Crock
Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 5 -6 hours
2 decent size chicken breasts
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 taco seasoning pack

Place chicken breast at the bottom of your crock pot (uncooked), dump remaining ingredients on top, stir, place lid on crock pot and cook on low heat for 5 - 6 hours. Remove chicken breasts, shred and add back to crock pot. Serve with corn bread, biscuits, tortilla chips, etc.
Quick, easy & oh so yummy!
Disclaimer - you may want an appetizer of Beano if you are prone to the toots :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


My favorite doctor, better known as my brother Derek, treated the family to an extended weekend getaway over Spring Break. My parents, myself and the 3 littles loaded up and hit the pavement from Kansas City to Hornbeak, Tennessee. We spent a relaxing four days in a rental "Sportsman's Hideout" home (very fitting name considering all the MANY taxidermy animals that adorned the place including a full size bob cat and bear - yep a bear!) just off Reelfoot Lake. This was a memorable trip for a couple of reasons.
One - our seven+ hour travels ended up taking us twelve+ hours due to several scheduled restroom stops, a meal break, a visit to McDonald's for ice cream and to let the kids run off some wiggles and one EXTREME detour! Short version of the story is the GPS led us to a ferry boat which we were to board, cross the Mississippi river and continue the 10 - 12 mile drive to our destination. Due to severe flooding, the road was closed and the ferry shut down. The detour took us another 2 1/2 hours scurting around the Mississipi. The part I am leaving out is the fact that we were in the middle of no mans land with no atlas and without cell reception. It was right at dusk and we all were somewhat panicked. By the time we found our way back to a Casey's general store it was 7PM and we hadn't had any supper. At Casey's we were told not once, not twice, but multiple times to look straight ahead with our doors locked and windows up through a little town that apparently is less than safe. NICE!
Two - it rained for two straight days and NINE out of ELEVEN of us were hit with the stomach flu. My two youngest were the fortunate ones whom escaped the illness. Picture two very small bathrooms occupied with those who were hit with the lower extremity outs {runs} and the rest laying on the three couches with heads hung over trash cans. Enter one VERY loving mother/grandma who graciously emptied the filled trash bags to the outside dumpster and replaced with a fresh bag.!!!
I took along my camera, but the handful of shots I took didn't turn out due to the horrific lighting so I am sharing a few my SIL took on their HD video camera.

This little miss was one incredible baby the entire trip. She was a great traveler, was patient with being passed around from person to person as each of us took turns being sick, and adapted to sleeping in a room with three other people seamlessly.

These have to be the two cutest three and half year old boys on the planet. Could they be any cuter? I love Connor's mop top of curls!! It makes me wish Gabrielle had her ringlets back.

This is six of my parents nine grandchildren:
Dawson 3, Gabrielle 6, Connor 3, Logan 7, Dylan 10 & McKenna 2 months

There is no other time like precious time with family!

Monday, March 21, 2011

2 Months Old

Our sweet baby girl celebrated her 2nd month of life on February 11th. The day was marked with a FULL day of travel to Hornbeak, Tennessee to be with my brother Derek and his family. McKenna proved herself to be an incredible traveler. She quickly earned the affections of her uncle, aunt and cousins.
We had her well baby visit on Wednesday the 9th. She weighed in at exactly 10 lbs and grew an inch measuring 21.5 inches. She did amazing with her immunization shots experiencing no swelling, rash or fever. She is beginning to offer smiles on a more frequent basis and coos often. She is just like our other babies who also suffered with extremely dry, sensitive skin. I call her our little grease monkey when she is all medicated. She continues to light up our lives bringing us so much love.
I attempted taking her 2 month pictures the day we arrived home from our Tennessee trip and she wasn't too enthralled with the idea as the pictures below show.
I couldn't get her to smile for my life!

Below is an out take, but I love it all the same :)

We can't wait to see what the next month has in store for us as we watch her grow and develop into her own little person.
Personal things of note that took place this month:
*February 14th we introduced the bottle
You were unsure about it at first, but took to it quickly
*Week 7 of life you developed a bad rash on your face and neck which the doctor determined to be typical baby acne exacerbated by extreme dry skin
She recommended using Aquaphor with a steroid cream several times a day until it cleared
*Daddy & Mommy secured a life insurance policy for you
*We took our 1st family "vacation" (minus Daddy) to Reelfoot Lake in Hornbeak, Tennessee
You met your Uncle Derek, Aunt Teri and cousins Dylan, Logan & Connor
9 out of 11 of your family came down with the flu bug and were super sick
You and your big brother Dawson were the lucky ones who didn't get sick
*We have taken advantage of the upcoming Spring weather by spending time outdoors and taking walks throughout the neighborhood. You love the fresh air!
*You have really filled out this month
You have the most adorable full cheeks and squeezable thighs with "fat" rolls
We are over the moon in love with you MJ!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Just Another Ordinary Week

Rewind One Week (Feb 21 - 25)
It is Friday night and I can.not.believe that another week has flown by. It has been an exceptionally quiet week around the house.

I have been very intentional about spending some quality time with the "big" kids each day. Thursday we spent the early afternoon making a funfetti cake. Dawson is quickly following in his sister's footsteps and fostering a love for baking.

Friday the 25th we pulled out the Tiny Love play mat and introduced McKenna to what has become her favorite activity during her awake periods. She beamed with excitement when we first placed her on it.

And this is the sweet, sweet face that makes life a little more joyful each day :)

Dawson still naps each afternoon from approximately 1:30 - 3:30 which allows us girl time. This is time I generally allot to checking e-mails, paying bills, surfing blogs, reviewing school work with G, etc. but this particular afternoon we spent in MJ's nursery doing a little reorganization. This is the 1st week Gabi has displayed that mini mommy mode and wants to be in charge of caring for her baby sister. She rocks her, reads to her, sings lullabies, wants to help bathe her and so forth. She about gave me a heart attack earlier in the week though as she toted McKenna from upstairs to downstairs. GASP!

I snapped this picture of our wild child and there are so many reasons that I love it:
1. He is wearing his favorite Lightning McQueen jammies and as this series of photos represents our kids LIVE in their pajamas
2. You can clearly see his chapped bottom lip. He is in a current phase of licking both his upper and bottom lips and looks like a clown most every day. He HATES lotions and chapstick so he pitches a fit when we insist he use it.
3. Dawson was born with my oldest brother Brett's "birthmark" on his left ear. Look closely at this picture and you will see the fold or indent on the ridge of his ear.
4. The photo displays his fair skin and the twinkle in his eyes. He is our little trouble maker and I think there is something about his look in this picture that shows that side of him.
5. Lastly, this is how our little man sleeps. He is a tummy sleeper like his mommy.

And I had to throw this one in.
Quila is our tried and true four legged love. She is the most tolerant old fat girl imaginable. The kids step on her, lay on her, pull her ears and tail, cover her in hugs and kisses and she just takes it all in stride. Quila takes ownership of the blankets on the couch, makes her nest and sleeps the day away. Now that is what I call the good life!