2 Months

This is our beautiful baby.
At 2 months she weighs in at a whopping 14 lb 13 oz.
She put on just under 5 pounds in one month.
She also grew 2 inches and is now 23.5 inches long.
You go girl!
She's a "smiling trick" as her Dad likes to call her.
Her new "trick" is to roll from her stomach to her back.
We couldn't be more in love.


Connor at Three

A snapshot of Connor on his third birthday:
Favorite Movie: Wall E
Favorite TV show: The Backyardigans
Favorite Books: Berenstein Bears and Richard Scary books
Shoe of Choice: Crocks
Favorite Foods: cheese, noodles, chocolate chip granola bars, apple fruit bars, apple juice, chocolate milk, grape tomatoes.
Favorite toys: Cars! Trucks! more CARS! more TRUCKS!
Favorite past times: Playing with friends! riding his bike, playing outside, watching TV, playing with toys
Can't live without: his two "B's" (blankies) and the smellier the better. I have to sneak one away at a time to wash it and then he's very unhappy with that one for awhile until it's nice and dirty again. Gross.
Favorite saying: "I say yep!" In response to us giving him a negative answer to something he wants.
Newly acquired skill: Dancing. I find him busting a move to music all over the place these days. At home, at the mall, at the grocery store, drugstore, you name the place, he's feeling the beat.
New found interest: Playing card games. We've made a few new games with cards we have at home and he LOVES it.
New Game: Locking his door from his car seat so I can't open the door to get him out, unlocking it to let me in, and then locking it again real fast before I can open the door. My Father, Husband, and now my son think this is hilarious. It must be a male thing.
Connor is very sweet and loving with his little sister.
We have adored him for three years now.

Happy Birthday to Me

Is what Connor was singing to himself yesterday, January 21, 2009. Connor turned 3 years old. Wow. He's seeming like a big boy to us. I think Connor had an ideal third birthday. Let me see if I can paint an accurate picture of the thrill of it all.
Tuesday night: Connor knew his birthday was close but didn't know it was the next day and we decided not to tell him. So after he went to bed Byron blew up about 30 balloons, I made his birthday cake and decorated the eating area and his chair with streamers and balloons. We wrapped his presents and set them out on the kitchen table along with some cards he'd received and his birthday cake.
Wednesday morning: Connor got up at 7:15 and walked out of room expecting his usual round of breakfast and cartoons. He was stunned at what he saw waiting for him. He wasn't quite sure what to make of it all. He spotted the cake right away and thought the balloons were really cool. When we pointed out there were presents waiting to be unwrapped he got right to business. He was thrilled to play with his new toys all morning. It turned out that Byron got to be home Wednesday too. He and Connor had a great time playing with tools, building train tracks and playing chase together.
Mid-morning: Connor asked if he could go to the "No No" store (Toys 'R Us. As to why he calls it the "No No" store is a story for another time.) He was thrilled when we said we could (that's not usually the answer) and told him he could bring the birthday money he had received in his cards. All four of us happily perused all the aisles and Connor made his selection, a car transporter truck with 4 cars. He was so proud to carry it to the check-out and pull his money out of his pocket to pay. While he was paying, he told the cashier it was his birthday and that he was three. The previously unenthused worker light up and told him to wait. She came back with a birthday crown and helium birthday balloon. As Connor walked out of the store carrying his new truck, wearing his birthday crown and holding onto his birthday balloon, other customers entering the store saw the decked out boy and shouted out birthday well wishes. He was bursting with pride. We ran through the Burger King drive-through and Byron got Connor a special birthday chocolate shake. I looked back at the birthday boy wearing his birthday crown, holding his birthday balloon and truck, sipping on his birthday shake, sitting in his regular car seat and cracked up when I noticed the crown had fallen down over his eyes, but he was still sucking on his shake and holding onto the balloon and truck. I could tell he was having a great day.

He was thrilled to play with his new toy and happily went down for a nap (aka. went into his room and kept playing with his new truck.)

That night we had a special birthday dinner of chicken alfredo which was exciting for a few minutes until he determined he wanted a different kind of noodle and the dinner was pretty much shot from there. Oh well, Byron and I enjoyed it. Because it was his birthday he got to have a Popsicle instead.
We had a family over for ice cream and cake and then went to bed a happy, happy kid.

It was another great, great day. Happy Birthday Buddy! We love you!


Quite Possibly the Best Apple Pie in the Whole World

is what this apple pie's recipe is titled as. The recipe comes from Janet Dittmer, who is infamous for her pies in northern Indianapolis, IN. Connor and I tried it out on this cold (in the 20's) winter day in North Carolina. Is there anything that makes a home feel warmer or cozier than apple pie baking in the oven? It smells divine.

7 c. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c flour
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t finely grated lemon peel
1/2 t lemon extract
1 t vanilla
1 t salt
dash ground cloves

Mix all the above together and put into a 9" pastry-lined pie pan. Combine 1 c flour and 1/2 c packed brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in 1/2 c. cold butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of apple mixture. Bake pie at 375 for 15 minutes, turn hear down to 325 and bake for at least 1 hour or until apples are tender. (Cover pie loosely with foil during later part of baking if crust and topping are getting too brown.) We all liked the pie, but I think I prefer the traditional 2 crust apple pie. The topping reminded me of a shortbread cookie flavor and was very rich combined with the pie filling. I know, I know, if I though it was rich, it much be outta sight.


8 Weeks

Angelic. That's how we describe our sweet Kylene. At eight weeks she continues to give us big toothless grins. We love those the best. She watches us intently and "talks" to us with coos and goos.
She's learning how to blow bubbles and still seems to be looking for that thumb. She's learned how to comfort herself to sleep without a thumb or pacifier though which we think it awesome. Her hair seems to be lightening up, but we think she's beautiful with the brown hair and blue eyes.

She enjoys sitting in her Boppy chair and observing the family, and gives big thankful grins when we stop to say hello.
It's safe to say all three of us are enamored with her.


Pumpkin Bread

Does anyone else find themselves trying to come up with things to entertain a toddler at home? Connor LOVES to help me in the kitchen, which can be a bit stressful at times, but I try to let him work with me as much as he can. I know I learned a lot of what I know about cooking just by being in the kitchen with my Mom, so I'm hoping Connor will develop a love of cooking, baking, and develop a taste for all different types of things by working with me. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but it's worth a shot.
Today we make Pumpkin bread from the Betty Crocker cook book. The recipe can be found here. Byron and Connor set out everything. It was great; I kind of felt like I was on a cooking show.

The batter,

ready to bake,

ready to eat.

I omitted the nuts and added chocolate chips. My good friend Janene puts raisins and chocolate chips in her pumpkin bread and it's scrumptious. I was bummed I was out of raisins because I had my mouth all watered up. I'll make sure I have raisins on hand next time for sure.


Three Cheese Pasta Penne Bake

This recipe is from Kraft Foods and is a home run. All three of us gobbled it up. Enjoy!

Prep Time:20 min
Total Time:43 min
Makes:4 servings

What You Need
1-1/2 cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 jar (14-1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

Make It
HEAT oven to 375ºF. Cook pasta as directed on package, adding spinach to the boiling water for the last 1 min.
COOK and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 3 min. Add spaghetti sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel cheese.
DRAIN pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 2-qt. or 8-inch square baking dish.
BAKE 20 min. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min.

We received a two person tent when we got married and we've gotten a lot of use out of it the past few months. Connor discovered it in our closet and it's become one of his favorite things (and one of our least favorite) to do. I was very proud of myself when I set up the tent by myself in our living room. Connor loves to bring all his blankets and pillows in and then watch a DVD on our portable DVD player. I mean, come on, the kid's got a great life. Here's to cushy camping.


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Bathing Beauty

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Connor: Where's Mommy?
Daddy: She's laying down right now.
Connor: I go get her.
Daddy: No, Connor, she's tired and needs to rest.
Connor: (In a desperate sounding voice) But I LOVE her!

(Fast and Testimony Meeting)
Connor: (In a mopey voice to himself) Oh man, I want talk to microphone.
(Apparently, he knew we would tell him "no". See, he's catching on.) :)
If we have been successful at anything so far as parents it's been helping Connor feel like being a big brother is the greatest thing to ever happen to him. He LOVES his new found status and will tell us he can do things because "I a big brother." I think he loves Kylene for giving him this new title too and will come up to her and want to touch her and say, "Oh, Kylene so cute." I've heard him calling her "little buddy" and trying to place one of his cars in her hand. He wants to share his favorite foods with her and is DYING to have bath time together (I have a feeling that will be short lived once it finally happens though).I hope this continues and they find good friends in one another.

6 Weeks

Our 6 week old Kylene is our little darling. For a few weeks now she's been giving us big, toothless grins which show off her dimples. She's starting to coo and gurgle more to us and loves to be sung to. She likes to be swaddled with her arms OUT (we gave up trying to swaddle her arms down at about week 3). She's starting to sleep 7-9 hours at night which makes for a VERY happy Mom and Dad. She takes one good morning and afternoon nap and then wants to be held the rest of the time she should be sleeping. She LOVES to be held over the shoulder and sleeps well in the Baby Bjorn while we're out and about. She seems to be looking for her thumb, which we hope she finds soon since she refuses a pacifer (silly girl).
To us, she gets more beautiful every day.


I don't think this little Manning is going to iNtiMidaTe anyone but he sure it cute!