That little girl is 10 months old today, y’all!  With Hazel’s foray into preschool, I have a little more time to focus on Julia.  Amos and I were thinking that we had Hazel using a spoon a little younger than this, so I got started with Julia last week.  She caught on pretty fast – my girls love to eat, and I guess she figured the more ways she knows how to get food in her face the better.

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Impromptu Picnic

Poor old Julia had to eat sunglasses 😉

It’s still very warm here, about 85 degrees and very breezy.  While I am getting very excited about feeling those first true fall frosty days, it was a pleasure to eat outside, surrounded by the beauty of fall leaves, without worrying about the girls being too chilly.

Hummus, pita, salad, and tomatoes

Hung-eeeee

That’s how my lispy toddler says “hungry,” and I’ve given up trying to correct her.  It’s cute, people, and she’s got too much to say to worry about controlling her face perfectly.  So this morning, when I told Hazel that we were going to give Julia solid food, she kept telling Amos and I that Julia was going to eat “food like us ’cause she’s HUNGEEEEEEEEEE, very HUNGEEEEEEEE, and I’m going to mix it up and eat it too ’cause I like oatmeal and why can’t I have oatmeal I don’t want

Here, eat this before Mama and Daddy see!

thosepancakesrightnow!”  Um, you get the picture.  It was way more exciting for Hazel than for Julia.  I love how interested she is in Julia; Hazel wanted to help at every step, from opening the box to actually feeding her.  I snapped this very quick shot almost accidentally (hence the blurry redness) of Hazel trying to sneak Julia’s first bite!

Oatmeal faceJulia did very well, though, despite being irritated about sitting up in the Bumbo seat.  She really seemed to like the taste and texture, but quit after a few bites to take a nap.  That’s my girl!

Oh, and I almost forgot!!  Last night, when I stripped Jules down for her nap, she was playing around on the

No mas! No mas!!!

bed and actually got her foot into her mouth.  She seemed pretty psyched about this, having now four permanently attached teething toys instead of just her two hands!

Another “First”

Sometime during the teenage years people start to be fixated on the firsts in their lives.  Our culture places a lot of value on the firsts, especially for women – your first prom, kiss, day at college, whatever.  The big two are your wedding day and the first baby.  Then, when the wedding is over and the baby is actually here, in all its drooly glory, it becomes all about the many firsts of the baby – diaper change, bath, tooth, laugh, smile, solid food.  They go really fast and are super exciting when the baby is young, but it slows down quite a bit after the first year; those firsts just seem more like evolution instead of baby book memories.  So while I’m anticipating these firsts with Julia, I don’t really look for them with Hazel anymore.  Tonight one actually came about, though, one that I can’t believe we have overlooked until this point!

See, a lot of the food I love the best is verboten in pregnancy:  moldy cheeses, raw oysters, caffeine (yeah, that’s a whole food GROUP), rare steaks & burgers, wine, raw bean sprouts.  It doesn’t seem like a lot, but in my two pregnancies I have had to find myself being hyper vigilant because I apparently eat this stuff kind of a lot.  Anyway, so while I’m pregnant I mourn for the foods I love and get a little depressed about the foods I crave.  Now, at the very end of my pregnancy, Amos decided that I should at least have something good, and we decided on a burger.  I refuse to order these out because if they are cooked to the temp that I need to nuke the creepy, fetus-killing bacteria, the burger turns into a little hockey puck of what we have named “meat gum.”  It’s grosser than it sounds.  Amos took pity & made a delicious, pink-free burger for me tonight.  We were setting up for dinner when I realized that Hazel has never had a burger!  This would be her first one, even if it had to be deconstructed for her tiny hands to handle.  She, of course, LOVED it, just like Amos and I both did.  My husband can seriously cook, you guys.  We had burgers with sharp cheddar, a little wilted asparagus, and fresh strawberries and Greek yogurt for dessert.  I think it was the best meal of 2011 (so far – just wait until I’m not gestating!).

Hazel's First Burger

I think she likes it.

Hot Tamale!

I agree – I could have thought up a better title for this post, but 10:10 PM real time is like 4 AM pregnancy time, so my brain is mushy!

One of the biggest things I missed in NY was good Mexican food.  I returned to the South, eager for to make up for four years of Mexican deficit, only to find that I either got pickier (more refined tastes?) or food has overall gone downhill (less likely), because the places we tried were just not good.  You know the kind I’m talking about – the menu is divided up into categories based on meat, and then the list of dishes are all the same except they have chicken in the “Chicken” section or pork in the “Pork” section…I know, so imaginative.  They all come with a side of slick, tasteless beans covered in greasy cheese and overcooked, orange rice that lacks even enough salt.  Maybe this all sounds harsh, but I know you know what I’m talking about.  Why eat that kind of stuff?  It’s disrespecting your mouth!

Hazel contemplates a tamale

So can you imagine how incredibly PUMPED Amos and I were to find this teeny grocery store/restaurant that serves amazing, amazing food?!  I don’t even know the name – I just know how to get there and that it’s painted bright green, like Ectoplasm green.  We decided to try this place based purely on our sense of adventure.  I mean, why not try out all these stores and diners that seem to cater directly to the Hispanic population?  That’s where the best food is!  And they do not disappoint.  Everything we’ve gotten there has been unbelievably tasty, well-priced (ahem, cheap), and served to us with some of the best attention we’ve ever gotten.  These guys have been so nice to us!  They think it’s cute that Hazel wants to watch them cook, and once they realized that she (and we) will really try anything, they haven’t been shy about suggesting things and just bringing out new things for us (mainly her) to try.  Seriously, one unforeseen blessing of our firstborn is her ability to command the staff of many restaurants, who are so impressed with her willingness – nay, desire – to eat the spiciest, most authentic dishes they can make that they shower her with a huge variety of free food landing on our table.  It’s almost creepy, this hidden talent of hers.  But if it gets us queso dip and more fresh corn tortillas than I can eat, I’m fine with it!!

Pizza Night

The best pizza comes directly from my husband, not from any pizza joint!  I love it when Amos makes pizza, and so I was super psyched that Hazel chose pizza as her meal this week.  See, we’ve started this thing where we ask Hazel what she would like for dinner when we are making out our weekly menu and grocery list.  I think it’s really fun, and it fits in with her personality and character since she loves food and helping us cook.

Anyway, this was the first week that we let her choose a family dinner item, and so pizza it is!  She helped Amos make a broccoli, onion, mushroom, and green pepper pizza on whole wheat crust.  In the interest of time we didn’t make the sauce (Amos’s sauce takes a couple of hours).  I love this picture; she was showing me the pizza and saying, “Cheese” while trying to also smile, and so we end up with a picture of a very intense Vanna White clone.  Love it.

 

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