Friday, August 28, 2009

Marlie is 2!


Cupcakes for the birthday party are in the oven so I thought I'd take advantage of these few minutes to post about Marlie. I often write about what we're up to, but rarely about who she is as a little person.
At 10:38 this morning Oklahoma time, Marlie turned 2 years old. I still stand by what I said last year. I don't wish for her to grow up any faster, but I don't wish for her infant time back again. Each month seems to be more fun than the last and I love watching her grow and learn.
So here's a view into a day in the life of Marlie and some of her interests and qualities.
The picture above is of M and her "hobo cart". Bryan calls her shopping cart the hobo cart because you never know what you'll find in there. She walks around the house grabbing all sorts of things. When we can't find something, we're always sure to check the cart.
M is a great sleeper. She typically goes to bed at 8pm and wakes up around 8am. She also naps from about 1-4pm each day.
When she wakes in the morning, M will get in our bed and we'll watch Dora until around 9. Before we leave her room though, she must collect an armful of books and toys to bring in our room!
At 9 we'll come downstairs and she'll watch Sesame Street while I prepare breakfast. M loves Elmo & Cookie Monster!
Her favorite breakfast by far is pancakes. When you ask what she would like, she'll always answer pancakes!
M loves going to hourly care and socializing with other children. I went to a mothers' group yesterday morning at a local church that we had never been to before. When I dropped her off in the childcare room, she took off and never even bothered to tell me bye!
M is very affectionate - especially with her friends. Before she says goodbye to them, she always has to give them a hug and kiss.
M loves to sing. If she is upset or getting out of control, I can calm her down by starting a song. Her current favorites are the ABCs, Wheels on the Bus, and Old McDonald.
She can sing her ABCs all the way through and is starting to recognize letters. We knew she was familiar with a few, but earlier in the week she started randomly pointing at letters in one of her books and we were surprised at how many she could recall.
Speaking of books, reading is still one of her favorite activities. She will sit with us and get so into the book we are reading to her. She also enjoys "reading" on her own. She will turn the page and say whatever action is happening on that page. Dr Seuss' Hop on Pop and ABC books are her favorites.
Books and food are about the only things that keep Marlie still for long. She is as busy and wide open as always. Other people often remark at how much energy she has. She loves to play outside/on the playground, swim in her pool, and go for rides in her wagon.
M will say just about anything and everything. We are constantly surprised at all her new words. Just this week, 2 different people commented on how well she talks. She does a good job of saying please, thank you and sorry.
When we mention that it's bubble bath time, M is ready! She has fun swimming in her tub so thankfully baths are never an issue for us.

Marlie certainly keeps us on our toes, but we love every little thing about her. We feel so blessed to be her parents and are thankful for all the joy she brings to our lives.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Italian Sausage Appetizer Bread

ITALIAN SAUSAGE APPETIZER BREAD

INGREDIENTS
1 pkg. (16 oz.) Johnsonville® Italian All Natural Mild Ground Sausage
1 loaf (1 lb.) frozen white bread dough, thawed
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red peppers, well drained and sliced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
1 tsp. poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS
In a skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink; drain. On a lightly floured surface, roll bread dough to a 16-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet. Combine cream cheese and garlic, spread lengthwise over center third of dough. Top with the sausage, peppers, olives and cheese. Fold dough over filling, pinching seam to seal. Make slits across top of dough every 2 inches. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 400ºF for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Yield: 16 servings.

This is considered an appetizer, but we make it for dinner. When I made it last week I used regular mild pork sausage rather than Italian sausage. We couldn't taste a difference. I also substituted a jar of sundried tomatoes for the peppers and that added a great flavor!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Party Planning

This weekend we tried to get some more things done for Marlie's upcoming birthday parties. Thankfully, Bryan had a 4 day weekend so we had some extra time on our hands.
Friday morning we got up and went to Nashville. We made our regular Dunkin Donuts stop and M loved eating her donut holes on the road. Party City was the priority for our trip but we weren't able to find much there that we were looking for. Since we finished at Party City earlier than expected, we rode over to Opry Mills. We walked around the mall for a little while and then had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. M loved watching the "monkeys & butterflies" (and other animals) while we ate.
Friday evening we grilled out with our neighbors. That was a great, relaxing way to end our day.
Here are a few of the kids convoying through the neighborhood


On Saturday afternoon, we had family pictures taken. As usual, M did not want to slow down long enough to pose for a picture, but hopefully our photographer was able to get a few decent shots. She posted a few sneak peeks on her blog and you can see them there. www.photographybyjamielynn.blogspot.com

Sunday morning I got up early to do my long run for the week. I ran 6.5 miles which is my new longest distance. It was under 65 degrees the whole time I ran and that made such a difference. It felt so much better than when I tried to do 5 miles in 90 degrees 2 weeks ago!
After church on Sunday, Bryan played golf with a few of his buddies. Our friends, Holly & Jake, will be moving in a couple of weeks so we all wanted the opportunity to spend some time with them before they leave. The guys deemed their afternoon Jake's farewell golf outing.

Yesterday morning all 3 of us went out again to run some errands. Since we were out and about, we decided to have lunch at restaurant called Moss' Southern Cooking. This is one of those places where the locals eat! Bryan & I love eating at local family owned restaurants as opposed to chains so we were excited to check out Moss'. We each got a meat & 3 vegetable plate and Marlie definitely enjoyed her meal the most! She loves vegetables and couldn't get enough of her macaroni & cheese, green beans and creamed corn.
Last night was the chance for us girls to have a farewell dinner with Holly. We went to Blackhorse downtown and had a great time. It was a nice change for us to enjoy some time together without the distractions of also being mommy. Even though we haven't known them long, Bryan, Marlie & I sure are going to miss Holly, Jake, and their daughter Katelynn.

Next week M will be starting part day preschool 2 days a week. We had her orientation this morning which mostly involved filling out paperwork. Before we left, I was able to show M her classroom. Once she saw that, she did not want to leave! She has enjoyed going to hourly care since we moved here. I think she'll love preschool even more since she will always have the same teachers and classmates!

Here are a couple of pictures I took yesterday morning. M wanted her bear to join her in the bed. She soon informed me that bear was "poopy" and needed a clean diaper. She tried to put the diaper on bear herself but eventually needed my help. It was so funny to watch M & bear in the bed with their diapers on.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Carolina Macaroni Salad

A long time ago I promised some friends I would post this. Here it finally is! We love this easy macaroni salad!

Prep Time: 15 min Total Time: 3 hr 15 min Makes: 8 servings, 1/2 cup each

What You Need
1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1/2 cup KRAFT Sandwich Spread
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
Dash of black pepper

PREPARE Dinner as directed on package.

ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Cover.

REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled.

Tips
Substitute 1/2 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing mixed with 2 Tbsp. CLAUSSEN Sweet Pickle Relish for the sandwich spread.

Nutrition Information
Calories 210
Total fat 10 g
Saturated fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 85 mg
Sodium 440 mg
Carbohydrate 23 g
Dietary fiber 1 g
Sugars 7 g
Protein 6 g
Vitamin A 8 %DV
Vitamin C 15 %DV
Calcium 6 %DV
Iron 6 %DV

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Find!

As I mentioned in my last post, I went shopping this weekend to try to find Marlie an outfit for our family pictures. I didn't have much luck. However, I did have a find at one of the local consignment stores that let me know I was meant to shop that day!
While going through the girls 2T section, I found a UGA cheerleading outfit! I know the military brings people from all over to this area, but what are the chances I would find Georgia gear in the middle of UT-UK country?! Marlie already loves her outfit!




At another (more upscale) consignment store I found this Strasburg dress. It is so simple but I just love it. It's also big enough that I hope she will be able to wear it through next summer too.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Week[end] of the Eagles

What a great weekend!
Every year Fort Campbell celebrates the Week of the Eagles. The week long event celebrates past and present members of the 101st Airbone Division. On Friday & Saturday nights Budweiser hosted a Salute to the Troops concert event. We attended on Friday night to see John Rich, Jake Owen, Hank Williams Jr and Carrie Underwood. The concert was awesome! Our friends, Holly & Jake, were able to get our chairs set up early that morning so that we were just a few rows back from the stage. That made all the difference in the world because I know it wouldn't have been quite as enjoyable if we had been in the back of the 75,000 people that were there! Here are some of our pictures from the concert. I didn't get any of John Rich but we did enjoy him and it was obvious that he was very glad to perform for the military families.

Hank Jr - he was probably the crowd favorite!


Jake, Holly, and us


Jake Owen - He was a great entertainer!



Carrie Underwood - I loved hearing her sing!



Although I didn't get to bed until midnight on Friday, I still got up at 6 on Saturday morning to run in the 5K. There was also a 10K but I decided to take it easy and enjoy the 5K with Holly. I didn't get a picture so I had to borrow this one from her. It doesn't look much like a race site, but we did start and finish at the railhead.


After the race, I went home and got cleaned up a little bit. A little after 10am, Bryan, M & I went over to the fair and air show. There were all types of aircraft on display and Marlie was so excited she didn't know which direction to go in! Here are M & Bryan in front of one of the displays.


We were all very hot so we didn't stay at the air show long. We headed home so Marlie could get a nap and I went on a shopping mission to try to find her an outfit for our family pictures next weekend. I didn't have much luck in that arena, but I did have one find that made the whole trip worth it. That will be another post though!

Saturday evening we went to our neighbors house for a family friendly poker night. I'm not made for poker, but Bryan really enjoys playing. We all had a good time and I'm glad we were able to do something as a family that is right up Bryan's alley!

M was late getting to bed on Saturday night so she ended up sleeping in on Sunday. We weren't going to make it to church on time, so we decided to visit the Cracker Barrel for brunch. We haven't eaten there since we've lived here and we all enjoyed having a big, yummy meal.

After naptime we hit the road again! Last night we went to Holly & Jake's house to celebrate the birthday of one of our other friends, Dave. We always love spending time with that group of friends. The adults share great conversation and the kids have a blast creating chaos!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Air Assault Graduation

Yesterday was Bryan's final day of Air Assault school. Their last challenge before graduating was a 12 mile road march. Bryan
did fine with the road march but his poor feet didn't look too good after it was over.
At 11am Marlie & I went to the Air Assault school to watch their graduation ceremony. Here are a few pictures that were taken during and after the ceremony.

In formation


At the end of the ceremony the instructors smoked them one last time


Marlie decided to join it too!


Proud of our Air Assault graduate!



By the time we got home, Marlie was due for a nap. Bryan had been up since 2am so he was ready to knock out too! I let the 2 of them sleep and snuck off to the yarn shop for a couple of hours!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Taking It Easy

This weekend was a relatively low key one for us. We hung out at home on both Friday & Saturday nights. On Saturday morning we went to one of the local lakes for the first time. A neighbor told me about Cheatham Lake and how much her family enjoyed it. We decided to check things out for ourselves. We invited some friends and left shortly after we woke up on Saturday. On the way we did make a pit stop at a local doughnut shop for an on the go breakfast.
Just before 10AM we arrived at the Cheatham Dam Right Bank Recreation Area. There was a small "beach" and roped off area for swimming. Marlie was all about playing in the sand and was even braver in the water than normal. I never even took my camera out of the bag so I'm glad Holly got some shots of our girls.

M & Katelynn playing in K's tent



K's huge bucket of toys happened to include an umbrella!



Serious business!


Bryan & I have tried to start a tradition of watching movies together on Saturday nights - if we're home & have the energy to stay up! We take turns choosing the movie and this week was my pick. My selection was Believe In Me, which is about a girls high school basketball team and their coach in the 1960s. As expected, I liked the movie better than Bryan. I thought it was good and way better than 3:10 to Yuma, which was his last choice. Regardless of our opinions of the movies, we both enjoy our movie nights!

It's now less than 3 weeks until Marlie turns 2! I am now completely in the middle of planning 2 different birthday parties. If I can keep my head on straight, they should be a lot of fun!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Prayer Request for a Friend

Last night I received some very sad news. My sorority sister, A.M., gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday. The baby unexpectedly passed away early yesterday morning. A.M.'s pregnancy was completely normal, healthy and full-term. Last I heard, the doctors had no idea what caused her death. I can't even imagine how devastating it would be to carry a baby for 9 months and then lose her as soon as you are getting to know her. Please pray for A.M. and her family during this very difficult time.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

I don't have anything interesting to post today so I'll just share another recipe. This is one of our favorite meatloaf recipes and definitely the easier of the two.

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready In: 1 hr 30 min
8 servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.

Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the sugar.

In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place on top of the ketchup.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Air Assault!


To me these have become representative of Air Assault school. This is pretty much what Bryan uses on a daily basis for the "toughest 10 days in the Army".

Monday, August 03, 2009

Girls Night

Friday night I was able to go out for a long overdue girls night. It was pretty low key but it was nice for all of us to get away for a few hours. The 5 of us went to dinner at Blackhorse Pub & Brewery, and then just down the street for a few after dinner drinks at Front Page Deli. Hopefully we will have the chance to go out together again soon. I wish I would have gotten a picture of us but we totally forgot.

On Saturday morning Bryan, M and I went to the pool for a little while. Our neighbors (who have 3 daughters) met us there and we all had a great time. That night we went over to our friends' house for a mexican dinner. Bryan & I enjoyed spending time with our friends and the 4 little girls running around definitely had a blast.

Sunday is the day for my long run for the week. After church I did a 4 mile run and then drove across town to do a few shopping errands. I was able to get some great deals on a few things for Marlie's birthday so it was successful trip!

Our weekends always seem to be pretty busy. We have so much fun in all the craziness though, that I don't mind one bit!