Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ava - Nine Months

I am a little late in posting this one, but Ava turned nine-months old on November 3rd. She seems so much older than she did on her eight-month birthday, mainly because of her new top teeth, her increasing mobility, switching to more finger food, and her fun personality coming through even more. 

We have had a few updates in the sleeping department as well. First, she switched from a sleepsack to a loose blanket last month. The sleepsacks were all getting a little short for our tall baby. So, rather than order bigger ones, we decided it was time to ditch them. I was also not worried about putting a loose blanket in her crib anymore, both because she is so mobile and because the Aden + Anais blankets are so breathable. The other big adjustment was Ava dropping her morning nap at daycare. However, she is still holding strong on that nap on the weekends....thank goodness, because I am not quite ready for it to go.

Ava babbles and giggles constantly, and has also become quite the little ham. Whenever I bring out my big camera, she shows off with a big grin...

And speaking of our little ham, below are my favorite pics from her nine-month photo shoot.

As usual, it was hard to get her to sit still for very long. And she was even more preoccupied by the teddy bear this time around. 

But we still managed to keep her attention for a short while. 

  • 20 pounds, 7 ounces (75%)
  • 29.75 inches (greater than 95%)
  • While she says "mama" and "dada" on occasion, she says "da" (dog) every time he sees Stella and Louie. I guess we know who she likes the best ;).  
  • Ava has also learned other ways of communicating with us. The best example is that she makes a lip-smacking noise when she is hungry. It is so cute and really helpful at the same time! I really need to get it on video soon. 
  • By the end of last month, Ava's top two teeth were almost all the way in, and her bottom right just started to peak through. 
  • Ava cruises around like a champ. It is only a matter of time before she is walking. 

This also means that she has discovered how to get into a lot more stuff around the house. But luckily, she has also learned what "no" means, and that certain things are off least temporarily. 

  • Ava has officially mastered the sippy cup. 
  • She now eats lots of different finger foods. Ava loves being able to feed herself, and surprises me constantly with how much she eats!

  • Of course...her "Wubbas." We usually only give them to her during naps/at night, but I recently found out that she had it with her almost all the time at daycare. Needless to say, I asked that they help us limit her Wubba addiction. 
  • Ava loves crawling around on the couch (with supervision of course). She giggles the whole time. 
  • She loves grabbing Josh's hair. Although we are trying to teach her to be "gentle."
  • Ava often does a backbend while you are holding her. She especially loves when I sing "Horsey, horsey ride to town. Horsey, horsey don't fall down," and she now bends back by herself when I say the last part. 
  • Eating! As I mentioned above, Ava eats pretty much whatever we put in front of her...especially if she can feed herself. Her favorites are cheese (just like her momma), bananas, puffs, green beans, mango, and chicken. She also loves giving the dogs a little taste. 
  • Ava loves her bath time. Unfortunately, she also likes trying to drink the bathwater. Yuck! 
  • She also loves "brushing" her teeth each night after her bath. I love that it keeps her still long enough for me to put on her diaper and PJs. 
  • Swinging! Ava is definitely getting a swing set from Santa this year. 

  • Despite all the toys in the room, Ava will inevitably go after this particular dog toy. I move the yucky green chicken into the other room, but the dogs always bring it back in. I think they are conspiring against me :). 

  • Sitting still on the changing table. Ever. 
  • Waiting on her food once she is hungry. 
Funny/Random Tidbits:
  • I don't know how to best describe it, but she loves making this noise...
  • She often sleeps on her stomach with her cute little booty in the air. 
  • Before we got a gate to block it off, she loved to crawl behind the couch in the family room. Because she knew she wasn't supposed to go back there, Ava would look over at me and smile mischievously before laughing and crawling at lightening speed behind the couch. I think we are in trouble. 

And finally, some of my other favorite photos from last month...


These are repeats, but they are some of my all-time favorites. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Italian Beef Casserole

This casserole is adapted from a Southern Living recipe, and it is the definition of comfort food. It is one of Josh's favorite meals that I make, and it is also a great casserole to take to moms with new babies.

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

  • 10 oz. can mild Rotel 
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

  • 12 oz. uncooked medium-size egg noodles

  • 6 green onions, chopped (both green and white parts)

  • 8 oz. container sour cream

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
 (I know this is a weird amount, but 8 oz. is a bit too much)
  • 1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese

  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

The first step is to start boiling the water for the noodles. You want to time it all right so the noodles are warm for mixing with the cream cheese later. 

Then brown the ground beef and drain the grease. 

Add in the diced tomatoes, Rotel, and tomato paste.

And the salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper.

Stir it all together and simmer for at least five minutes.

Boil the noodles according to the package directions.

In a large bowl, add the cream cheese...

sour cream...

green onion...

and the hot noodles.

Mix together.

Put the noodle mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan (or two 8x8 pans so you can give one away/freeze one for later).

Top evenly with the meat mixture.

Then add the cheese in the order listed. 

First add the cheddar. 

Then the parmesan.

And finally the mozzarella.

See what I mean about comfort food?

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until the casserole is heated through and the cheese on top is melted (you can also freeze the assembled casserole for up to a month, and bake the frozen casserole for 90 minutes or until heated through).

Uncover and broil for approximately four minutes (keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn).

The broiling step is very important because you get this nice browned-cheese crust.

Mmmmmmmm. It smells so good at this point.

Serve with a nice salad and some rolls/garlic bread, and you have a perfect meal.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Couch to 5K

I have never been a runner. Ever. In fact, I have always hated running. But I see people running, looking all fit and happy and stuff, and I really want to love it. 

 Also, I am determined to get in shape and lose these last 10 pounds of baby weight (plus another 10-15). And while I prefer group workout classes, the class times at most area gyms/studios are not very conducive to my current schedule. So, it is finally time for me to give running a real shot.  

I have no desire to run crazy long distances, but I think three miles would be great. And being able to participate in some fun 5K races throughout the year would be pretty cool as well...have you seen the zombie race?!

After doing some research, the "Couch to 5K" training program seemed like the best place to start. It is a gradual program that gets you from zero running to running a 5K within nine weeks. You only have to commit to training three times a week for 30 minutes, which I feel is manageable (but it does mean that this anti-morning person has to get up even earlier a couple times a week...yuck).

There is also a really cool C25K app you can download for your iPhone. It allows you to play any of your iTunes playlists, and a lady's voice interrupts the music to tell you when to start running/walking. She also tells you when you are halfway done. It makes it super easy to follow the program! Below is a screenshot of the app on my phone...

And I highly recommend adding a little Juanes to your playlist.

Yesterday was my first day, and it wasn't bad. The first-day program started with a five-minute warm-up walk, followed by 20 minutes of short walking and running intervals, and finally a five-minute cool-down walk. I am super sore today, but in a very good way.

I really want to keep this up and reach my goal, so I am blogging about it in order to keep myself accountable to my (three) readers out there.

5K (and sexy mom body) here I come!

About Me

My name is Catherine, but most of my friends call me Cat. I was born and raised in Austin, went to TCU, and ended up in Dallas for law school (where Josh and I met). I decided that being an attorney was not my cup of tea and pursued a career in legal marketing. I am now a mother of two attempting to balance family with a full-time job, which is always an adventure. I love: my sweet babies, handsome husband, very large family, and fabulous friends; trying new restaurants; wine; TCU football; holidays; cooking; The Bar Method; pajamas; Topo Chico; reading; coffee; Central Market; carbs; the beach; mani/pedis; Anthropologie; binge-worthy TV shows and podcasts; trivia; French 75s; Pinterest; cheese boards; The Ticket; dancing; Sprinkles cupcakes; The Texas Rangers; fresh flowers; thunderstorms; naps; Tex-Mex; the Texas Hill Country; porch-sitting; ranch dressing; throwing parties; and my job. I hate: working-mom guilt; snakes; heights; waking up early; ignorant people; stomach bugs; paper cuts; green fruit; snoring; bad hair days; the sound of people eating (Misophonia); scary movies; bad drivers; pulpy OJ; trimming baby fingernails; and Miracle Whip. That pretty much sums it up.


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