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.

 

I just ate the best meal. Ever.

I think, and I am saying this tentatively, most of the nausea is behind me!  Or, it's at least mixed with those amazing feelings you get when you have a pregnancy craving and manage to satisfy it immediately.  Just now, in reviewing what I've eat today (1/2 a peach, 1/2 a nectarine, 2 slices of honeydew, and a small turkey & mayo sandwich on WW), I realized that it actually hasn't been that much.  Which is why I am hungry again at 3:30, like a toddler.  Amos is making Indian, so we're looking at about 2 hours until dinner, and I didn't think I could wait that long.  I was rooting through bags of raisins and crackers when it hit me – I wanted tomato soup and a grilled cheese.  Specifically, I wanted cold tomato soup and a grilled cheese made with provel & light mayo.  And, lucky for both me and Gummi Bear (the new baby's nickname of the moment), I had all the stuff to make it right away.

So here is a junky picture of the tastiest (and biggest, probably) snack I have ever made:
It looks burnt, but it wasn't.  It looks cheesy, and it was.  I saw the picture on the back of my camera, knew how bad it was, but literally didn't care in the face of eating exactly what I wanted at that exact moment.  It was, perhaps, the best half hour of my whole life.  :D

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Catch-Up Session!

I just noticed that it's only been eight days since I last posted, but man does that feel like forever!  I'll just take it one by one!  First, Amos has been working on making some Vietnamese and Thai food at home.  We both really love these types of food – I would go so far as to say it's my favorite – and since we haven't found a restaurant here that serves that food, he's been interested in learning how to make it at home.  His first attempt was SUPER AWESOME. Seriously – so, so good.

I have been craving it ever since.  All that green goodness is cilantro, Thai basil, and chives.  SO GOOD.
Lately Hazel, Amos, and I have been checking out all the local playgrounds.  We found a new one that is awesome – it even has mellophones, although the sticks are missing.  It's a wooden playground, built like a castle.  Hazel had a really good time going down all the slides, even the ones that were super tall and for big kids.  This is the only picture she let me take of her; lately she's been disinterested in the camera.  Let's hope it's just a phase!!!
I had another midwife visit this morning, which turned out to be more exciting than usual.  Because we couldn't hear the heartbeat and they do ultrasounds on site, we got to check on the baby with an ultrasound!  The little gummy bear was squirming and wiggling around an awful lot for a person who's only 2.5 inches long!  The baby was super duper cute.  Just like last time, I have added some directions to these pictures so you all can understand better what you're looking at.  So.  Cute.
Ultrasound01Ultrasound02

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Hazel Update

Um, no, I haven't forgotten my firstborn!  These past few weeks, really since I was pregnant but before we knew I was, I have been so exhausted that the blog has fallen behind a bit.  All you silent but loyal readers are familiar with this phenomenon from me 🙂

I took this video this morning.  Hazel has become very interested in books – us reading them to her many times a day, and her reading them to us as well.  Here's a quick peek at her reading us a nursery rhyme book this morning:
You might notice how red this video is…sadly, this house doesn't get the same intense natural light as our apartment in New York.  The whole central AC thing is a nice trade-off, though.  
A friend of mine from high school recently studied and became a photographer, and seeing her pictures online has made me want to get my "big" camera out again.  Seriously, between school and moving and normal family stuff I haven't used that camera in months.  That's WEEKS X WEEKS people!  I like these little pictures I get from my tiny, very lightweight point & shoot, but I admit to always being bothered by the high red saturation, the blurriness, etc.  Yeah – I'm definitely getting out a bigger lens soon.  This weekend will be a great opportunity, since I found a farmer's market in Madison, about 25 minutes away from us.  I'm going to check it out this weekend, and hopefully every weekend until October!
In other news, I believe I have found an OB for this new baby (and, you know, for me after ol' Catfish is born – yes, we're calling the baby Catfish until we figure out if it is a boy or a girl, so be prepared to hear that nickname for at least 5 months!).  I was truly dismayed this morning to find out that there were only two – MALE – OB's in all of Athens.  You guys know me…do you think I'd want a dude messing with my lady parts during their most trying time?  Not so much!  So my hormones got a hold of me, and I might have said the F word a few times, but then I calmed down quite suddenly (thanks estrogen and progesterone!) and called the dude.  Turns out he has a female nurse practitioner, who is his wife, and a – wait for it – certified NURSE MIDWIFE who also work with him!!!  I felt like I had won a small lottery!  Then, when I made the appointment for next Monday and found out that the midwife would be covered by our insurance through the OB-GYN's practice, I felt like we'd won the Powerball!  I'm so excited about this.  I hope she doesn't suck.  I'll keep y'all updated; until then I'm just working on my poetry skills, which class is turning out to be super fun and kind of easy, and trying not to get too nauseated every time I see food, or smell food, or think of it, or someone else talks about it.

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Healthy Lunch

Now that we are mostly settled in, Amos and I (mainly me, since I'm at home with Hazel right now) are working on getting her back into the daily routines we've set her whole life.  A major area for scheduling involves food.  We've been packing, moving, on the road, or on the go for weeks now, and Hazel's been exposed to a wider variety of weird food situations than ever before.  She's done very well, but I can see already a few areas of concern where she's been acting up; for example, at my mom's house, she wants to eat ALL the time except at mealtimes.  We don't allow constant snacking, but in the wake of all the upset moving caused, she's been trying to do these things she knows aren't allowed.  Today was really the first day she and I had a 'normal' lunch together.  I've decided to include the recipe/mention of it here for two reasons:  everyone is always surprised at how well she eats, in regards to both her table manners and the variety of food she likes, and also I have a lot of people ask me about how we make her food in particular, but also how we make it fit into our lifestyle.  Amos and I work on eating healthy, real food, so while we do have some food vices (cheeseburger Doritos, anyone?), we generally have a nice, varied diet.  I'm eager to get back to it, actually!  I like routines too – wonder where Hazel gets it from??  ;)

Today's lunch took about 20 minutes top to bottom, and that included prepping all the vegetables.  Normally I have onions and carrots chopped and stored in the fridge, but like I said we're not back into our normal routines just yet.  
Black Beans & Vegetables
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped 
~2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 c. chopped green beans
All of this was sauteed in some olive oil.  Yeah, that's all I did!  This was Hazel's version of lunch, with the green beans chopped up smaller.  For myself, I also added boiled green beans on top and about 1.5 tbsp of these organic TVP bacon bits we brought from Tom's.  The rest of the green beans from the bunch I bought were also boiled, and I put them in the fridge for tonight's dinner.  Splitting up food in that way, preparing ahead, makes healthy cooking (or any cooking that doesn't come from a box) quite a bit easier!  :)

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