March 29, 2011

Mid-Week Minute: It's a Quiche!

So, like I said last week, I'm on a total new recipe kick. I've always been a pretty picky eater but over the last several years I've branched out a lot with what I order at restaurants, thanks mostly to Paul's teasing encouragement. Now I've decided I need to branch out at home as well. I've had quiche before (I think) but definitely never made one. But I found this delicious-looking recipe for a spinach and bacon quiche in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and thought it was worth a try. I have to say I did pretty good for my first time. I judge this by the fact that Paul ate it for three meals in a row, which never happens, and was visibly upset when there was finally none left. I'll definitely be making more quiches in the future.

Oh, and the recipe called for "crispy" bacon so since mine always turns out not so crispy I googled "how to make crispy bacon" and came up with this technique. Some of you probably already make it this way but I thought I'd share anyway because it was way easier than using a skillet and it really did make it super crispy... Cover a baking sheet with foil and lay the bacon strips on it. Put it in the oven first and then turn it on to preheat to 400 degrees. Let it sit in there while it's preheating and afterwards for a total of about 20 minutes (depending on how fast your oven warms up). The foil makes the cleanup really easy and the bacon turns out sooo good! I've cooked bacon in the oven before but I guess for some reason it makes a difference that it's in there while the oven is preheating instead of already at 400. 

Also, I wanted to show you Paul's hard work from this past weekend. He worked all day on Saturday cleaning out the garage to make room for a home studio and it looks awesome! We're going on Friday to pick up a new desktop computer to put out there for him that he'll use for his thesis work coming up. 

(I got in there a little too late to take a proper
"before" picture. Those boxes on the floor were in 
stacks instead of all over the floor but it still looked
almost as awful as this anyway.)

(He got rid of a bunch of stuff and rearranged
the back area so that all the boxes could be moved
back there and easily accessed, then cleaned off
the countertop so he can work on it and added
shelves over it and hooks to hold all his supplies.)

Hooray for productive weekends! Alright, see you back here on Friday for Wilder's 18-week update where we get visited by the tooth monster, not fairy. 

OK, well, I've had a few people ask me to post the quiche recipe so here it is guys! Enjoy!
Spinach Quiche
1 frozen pie crust
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 slices crispy bacon, chopped
8 beaten eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half and half, light cream, or milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Dash ground nutmeg (optional)
3 cups lightly packed chopped fresh spinach
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (I couldn't find this at the grocery but Sargento makes an Artisan blend of shredded mozzarella and provolone and I thought the smoky provolone would go great with the bacon so that's what I used)
Cherry tomatoes (optional)

Directions: Cook bacon as directed above then crumble. In a skillet cook onion until tender. In a bowl stir together eggs, sour cream, half and half, salt, pepper, and, if desired, nutmeg. Stir in onion, bacon, spinach, and cheeses. Pour egg mixture into frozen pie crust. Bake in a 325 degree oven 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean (mine took more like an hour or so because it was overfilled a bit). If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cherry tomatoes, if desired.

March 25, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Seventeen

This week last year was the week that would begin a whole new chapter in our lives. A year ago Wednesday to be exact, I took four pregnancy tests and was in absolute shock and disbelief when one after the other came back with a little plus sign. I always thought when that happened I would be jumping up and down and screaming with excitement, but when I told Paul we just stared at each other like deer in headlights. We, of course, were beyond excited but neither of us knew what to say or do. We just hugged and sat on the bed together feeling amazed, scared, overwhelmed, blessed, and so so happy. I don't know about him but I also felt very small next to the significance of what we had just discovered. The love I immediately felt for that tiny sesame-seed-sized life inside me trumped everything else I cared about, wanted, or was afraid of. It was a miracle, it was life-changing, and it's a day I will never forget. 

Now let's talk about that little life now that he's 17-week-old-baby-sized... On Tuesday I took Wilder for his 4-month check-up. He weighs 15 lbs. 8 oz. and is 25 1/4 inches long; both are 75th percentile. I really think he's a little longer according to my measurements at home but he was so squirmy for the nurse I don't think she could get an accurate reading -- she even ended up getting ink on his head trying to draw the top line for the measurement, that's how much he was wiggling around, haha. Anyway, the check-up went well. Wilder showed off his rolling skills for the doctor and smiled at her the whole time. Then I asked her to check out a birth mark he had developed on his booty and as soon as I took his diaper off he peed all over her. I felt awful, like I had tricked her into standing over him and then given him some kind of secret signal to "Ready, aim, fire." But she was very nice about it and luckily she has a son who is two months older than Wilder so I think she's sort of used to it, poor thing. So yeah, other than that, the visit went well. The vaccinations were pretty awful as usual, but they've got to be done and they just give me an excuse to cuddle him the rest of the day.  

Wednesday was Paul's last day of school for this quarter (yay!!) so he wanted me to bring Wilder to the studio to meet everyone finally. Paul was such a proud daddy walking around with him and showing him offIt was so cute and just warmed my heart :) 

Also on Wednesday I took Wilder and the dogs to the dog park where I started talking to another mom with a baby a month younger than Wilder. She had a 140-lb. Great Dane and I kept trying to decide which of us was crazier. In the end though I'm pretty sure two 100-lb. spoiled, maniacal beasts, one ball-crazy and one half-retarded, beat out her gentle giant. Anyway, she was telling me about the Gymboree class she had started going to. I looked at the website and it looks fun. Any of my readers ever been? I really want to get Wilder around other babies so I signed up for a free class on Monday to check it out. I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully it will be something fun for us to do once or twice a week to get out of the house and interact with other moms/babies. 

Speaking of jumping on the mommy bandwagon, I bought Wilder a Jumperoo off Craigslist last weekend. This bouncing, flashing, musical, farm-themed hunk of plastic is seriously the gaudiest thing I've ever purchased but apparently the gaudier the better in a baby's opinion because he loooves it. He is so freaking cute bouncing up and down in it and spinning/pulling/hitting the toys and even though it's annoyingly hideous it's totally worth it to see this face every time he plays in it...

Here's a video I took of him in it the other day. He was just starting to get the hang of it and was enjoying himself immensely as you can see.

This weekend we're going to be cleaning out our storage room/garage so Paul can set up a mini studio in there and be able to work from home more next quarter. I'm so excited about having him home for his break over the next two weeks and hopefully more during the rest of the school year. Here he is working hard on his final project last weekend... He's so passionate about architecture and I couldn't be more proud of him!

Last week I mentioned how Wilder loves Posey because she's too lazy to move when he starts messing with her... Case in point:

Here's another cute video from this week. Making this little baby laugh is always the highlight of my day. :)

And one more cute picture... Everyone have a fantastic weekend! 

March 23, 2011

Mid-Week Minute

My dad has told me he wishes I would do more than one post a week, which has been laughable up to now because I've barely had time to do that one post. But I've gotten in a pretty good routine now so I think I'll have time to do a short one mid-week. It's not going to be what he wants, which is Wilder updates, because I want to keep those all nicely packaged into my Friday "Life of Wilder" posts. They'll be just different tidbits, other stuff going on in the week, what's for dinner, etc. and I'm going to try to keep them short, hence the title "Mid-Week Minute." Also, I can't promise that I'll be able to do them every week so don't hold me to it! :)

This week I've been exploring some new recipes. I've always been the casserole/meat and potatoes/occasional fajitas type of cook but if I have to even think about making another Cheesy Broccoli Chicken casserole I might throw up. I don't know what prompted this new direction in my culinary repertoire but I do know that Paul could not be more thrilled -- he hates eating the same thing over and over. Anyway, so I knew I was going to be buying a lot of new ingredients so I wanted to clean out the pantry a little and make room. We all have canned stuff and other ingredients that we've randomly bought that just hang around until they go bad so I decided to go out on a limb and try making a stew with some of them. What I ended up with was absolutely delicious if I do say so myself...

Hodge Podge Stew

One can chicken broth
One can pinto beans
One can stewed tomatoes
One leftover yellow heirloom tomato from the farmer's mkt.
Two chicken breasts cut up and sauteed
One Italian sausage cut up and sauteed
Chopped onion sauteed with meat
Sliced carrots
Frozen corn
Leftover cooked rice
Basil, thyme, salt and pepper

Add some cornbread muffins and you've got yourself a meal or two.

I was so proud of myself for coming up with something different and for using up some old ingredients instead of throwing them out! Alright, see you back here on Friday for Wilder's 17-week update including his 4-month checkup where he may or may not have peed on the doctor ;)

March 18, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Sixteen

I say it every month but I can't believe Wilder is FOUR months old today. It's hard to fathom that he's already four months old and only four months old at the same time. He has really grown up in the last month -- holding his head up completely, rolling over more easily, grabbing everything within reach, teething, and more. He is so much fun to be around and every night when I go to bed I can't wait to wake up the next morning and be his mom some more. He is developing such a funny little personality and it brings so much joy into my life to make him smile or, the Holy Grail, laugh. I feel like I know him so much better these days -- what makes him upset or happy, how to soothe him or entertain him, his "hungry" or "tired" signals, etc. This motherhood thing is, by far, the most rewarding, exhausting, scary, joyful experience of my life and, don't tell Paul but, I can't wait to do it again and again ;)

It has been an emotional week. Having a baby changes your perspective on so many things. Things that were passable before suddenly no longer cut it. Things that you always let slide suddenly can't be overlooked anymore. You want your child to have the very best in life, and I'm not talking about possessions, I'm talking about quality relationships because that is part of what helps them develop into who they are going to be. We've been making some tough decisions this week but I'm convinced that things will work out for the best one way or another because our hearts are in the right place. My policy with this blog is normally "full-disclosure" so I know I'm being unusually cryptic but I'm trying to talk about the idea of something without going into sensitive details. Readers, if you're a praying bunch, which I know a lot of you are, I ask that you pray for wisdom and peace for Paul and me during this time. P.S. Just read back over this and it kind of sounds like Paul and I are having problems, but it's nothing between us. Just wanted to clarify... You know how easily rumors get started! 

I would have hoped I could say by now that we've recovered from our TN trip but that doesn't seem to be the case just yet. My suitcase is still only partially unpacked and we're still struggling to get back into our old routine. Unfortunately, besides the leftover exhaustion from the trip, there's been a lot more working against us: the time change last weekend (ugh!), Paul's exams being this week, and dum duh duh duhhh...

Do you notice a pattern here?

That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's teething time in the Taylor house. And it is not fun. Poor little guy is all out of whack and can't think of anything else but finding something to gnaw on. I even took him out into the yard to play on Wednesday to try to get his mind off of it and look what happened... Seriously, the flowers?? Can we say desperate?

So the teething has resulted in extra fussiness and fewer naps for him and extra exhaustion and no naps for me. Plus, Paul has been super busy studying for exams this week so he hasn't been able to really relieve me at all. The time change also royally screwed us up earlier in the week but our schedule seems to have slowly gotten back on track since then. It's been long long week and I am so looking forward to Paul's break starting Wednesday. But it's also been a fun week too. 

Wilder has started rolling over with ease and it's now his favorite pastime. Since his rolling marathon in Week Eight he mysteriously hasn't been able to do it again from front to back. Good thing I got it on video. So now he rolls from his back to his belly and gets stuck that way. Anytime I put him flat on his back he immediately rolls over, plays for a few minutes, and then starts fussing because he doesn't want to be on his stomach. So that is our new routine: he rolls, fusses, I roll him back over and then he rolls again. I keep telling him not to roll onto his belly if he doesn't want to be on his belly but he's obsessed with his fun new talent. 

He also has another new obsession this week: the dogs. Anytime they are in the room he is watching them, trying to grab them, holding out his hand for them to lick it, etc. He especially loves Posey because she's so lazy she'll usually just lie there and let him mess with her. The other day he was lying on a blanket in his room and Posey was lying close to him. Apparently it wasn't close enough for his liking so he rolled over so that he was right next to her. She sort of scooted away a little so when he fussed to be rolled over I rolled him toward her. She scooted away a little more and he rolled over next to her again. I thought it was so funny that he was sort of following her across the room; Posey did not think it was that funny. She's really not going to think it's funny when he starts crawling after her. 

Since he's been so irritable this week he hasn't wanted me to put him down. I kind of don't mind because he's so cuddly, but sometimes I've just got to get stuff done so I've been coming up with creative ways to entertain him. The other day he wasn't happy lying in the Pack n Play so I sat him up in the corner of it and he thought that was the greatest trick. He sat there for about half an hour playing with links in both hands and kicking his ball around with his feet. Hey, whatever works.

He's also been busy helping Paul study this week. 

Last Saturday we went to cousin Henry's first birthday party at Amber and Travis' house in La Habra, CA. Everything was so cute and we had a great time. Wilder was the youngest one there so we put him in one of Henry's old rolling toys to watch the festivities for a while. All the little kids kept coming over to check him out and spin his toys for him. It was really cute. 
Henry was such an adorable little birthday boy. When everyone gathered around him to sing Happy Birthday he stared at us all like we were crazy, haha :) He wasn't sure about his cake at first but definitely got the idea after a while -- he ended up with it in his hair, ears, and all over his face. 

Well, that's about all Wilder's going to give me time to write this week. Did I mention I can't wait for Paul's break from school?? :) Here are a few more cute pictures from this week...

Oh, and I almost forgot... We were so blessed to escape any tsunami damage here in San Diego last week but, as we all know, Japan wasn't so lucky. Y'all know what an animal lover I am so I'm posting this amazing video of a Japanese dog loyally standing by his injured dog friend amidst the devastation. So sweet and sad. Don't worry, both dogs were rescued afterwards, but the people and animals of Japan desperately need our help. You can donate to World Vets by clicking here to help the thousands more animals like these. You can also donate to the American Red Cross by clicking here to help with the rescue effort.

Have a great weekend everybody!

March 11, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Fifteen

Warning: Epic post... Might want to have a good chunk of time on your hands and a bowl of popcorn.

Wilder's first trip to Tennessee was exciting, emotional, exhausting, and so so special. It was so fun to watch his grandparents love on him and the rest of our family meet him for the first time. The consensus was that he looks just like Paul, but has my eyes, and is the cutest, sweetest baby in the entire world ;) We saw soooo many people every day and at first he was a little overwhelmed but, in his typical laid-back fashion, he just went along with whatever the plan was each day. 

The time difference didn't really faze him and he was so tired every night that he really had no trouble sleeping. I sure did though. Not because I wasn't tired, but because he slept in the room with me so every time he moved I would wake up and check on him on the monitor (yes, I had the video monitor set up so I could watch him from three feet away) to make sure he wasn't face down in the Pack and Play. I tried to keep him on his nap schedule but that was nearly impossible since we were gone so much so he did a lot of napping in the car between stops or on whoever happened to be holding him at those stops. He's always loved studying people so he was in heaven getting to see all those different faces every day. He did great and was a total trooper and I was so proud of him. 

Here we are at the San Diego airport. Getting through security was no small feat -- everything is more difficult while juggling a 15-lb. baby. I definitely should have packed more lightly for the plane. I wanted to be prepared for every possible situation, but I probably could have left the fire extinguisher at home ;)
He did great on the plane. I fed him during take-off and landing so his ears wouldn't hurt. There was another baby across the aisle from us who he stared at for the first hour and then he slept for the last two hours. The only time he cried was when I took him to the restroom and flushed the toilet. I had forgotten/never thought about how loud the toilet on an airplane is and it scared the crap out of him. Poor little dude, his face got all red and he screamed his head off until we escaped what he was obviously convinced was a chamber of death. FYI: They have fold-out changing tables in airplane bathrooms, who knew!
My parents picked us up at the airport in Nashville and it was the happiest reunion I've ever been a part of. My mom could hardly wait for me to get him out of the carrier so she could hold him and we had to sit in the airport lounge so they could love on him for a little while before we made the two-hour drive to Jackson. They hadn't seen him since he was a week old so it had been all they could do to not meet us on the runway, for goodness sakes.
On Wednesday Paul's sweet Aunt Kathy had set up a little luncheon for us at The Painted Lady. (All you Jacksonians... go there! It's sooo delicious. And yes, it's downtown, get over it! You can only eat at Panera so many times in a week and, let's face it, North Jackson is nice but totally devoid of character.) Anyway, at the luncheon, Wilder got to meet his cousin Ava and her beautiful mama Betsy (and his little boy cousin in Betsy's tummy), his great-aunts Kathy and Pam, and see his Lovie for the first time in a couple of months. Needless to say, he was a hit with the ladies. 
Also on Wednesday I took him to meet his "aunt" Jinny (my very best friend) at her work and we got to visit with another good friend, Alexis, while we were there. 
We ended up staying for quite a while so he was a little irritated by the time we took the picture below, but oh well. 
Then, against my better judgment, we made one more stop at Paul's dad's office before going home to feed him and take a nap. I couldn't not have him see all the grandparents on our first day there. Although I'm sure his Daddy G would have preferred to see him post-snack and -nap, it just didn't work out that way. We didn't take any pictures there for obvious reasons (imagine his attitude in the above picture times 10). 
My grandmother (my dad's mom) came over for dinner that night but, luckily, he was in a much better mood by then because it was his bath time. He totally hammed it up for her naked as a jaybird on the kitchen counter and she thought he was just too cute. 
On Thursday we loaded up in the car and headed to Memphis to have a play date with my good friend Megan and her 7-month-old son Mason. Mason was so much more active than Wilder and I don't think Wilder quite knew what to do with him but it was really fun and special to get them together. 

I had to post all three of these pictures because Wilder's face totally cracks me up in all of them. Doesn't he look so happy to have a little friend? :)
(And yes, for you observant readers, he had to have a wardrobe change halfway through the morning because he spit up all. over. himself.)
Megan had two of those jumper things so we put the boys in them to play. Wilder wasn't sure what he was supposed to do in it at first but Mason was next to him rambunctiously jumping up and down so he watched him for a few minutes and then started jumping too. It was funny to see him learn from his friend and it made me really realize how much I need to get him around other babies. 
After our play date we got back in the car and drove to Covington, TN, to visit my mom's family. Wilder got to meet his great-grandmother, great-aunts, and lots of cousins. I was so excited to finally introduce him to them and it was such a fun afternoon getting to visit with all of them. 
After being gone all day Thursday we were exhausted so we didn't even leave the house on Friday. It was still an exciting day though. Wilder's Auntie Lizanne came into town from Nashville to see him. She is so sweet with him and we had fun getting to sit around and catch up with her. 
Also on Friday, my brother William and his fiancee' Lauren came into town for the weekend. My brother was the only one in my immediate family who hadn't met Wilder yet so I was really excited for this. 
Oh and Wilder also got to meet my brother's sweet pit bull Diesel who absolutely loved him. He was so gentle with Wilder and protective of him.
It was so nice to get to hang out with them all weekend. I just know Wilder is going to adore his Uncle William as he grows up. How cute is this video?? :)
Also on Friday I took Wilder's 14-week picture. I enlisted the help of my mom because Wilder seriously adores her. Other than Paul, there is no one who can make him smile so much. 
On Saturday my mom and grandmother had set up a Sip and See (yeah, it's a Southern thing) at my grandmother's house for friends and family to come over to meet Wilder. My brother and Lauren played with Wilder that morning while I got ready. They all had a great time hanging out.
The Sip and See was so nice! I got to see a lot of people who I wouldn't have otherwise been able to see and everyone just ooh'd and ahh'd over my little Wilder. He did so good too. Let everyone pass him around and finally fell asleep with my mom holding him. 
Jinny and me with our babies
Us with Dr. Barefoot -- he married 
Paul and me almost four years ago there
at my grandmother's house so it meant a 
lot to me for him to be there to meet Wilder
After the Sip and See we went home and rested then went back to my grandmother's house because my dad's youngest brother and his family had come into town from Oxford, MS. All the kids got to hold him and his cousin SallyKate read a book to him. It was so sweet -- he actually paid attention which he rarely does when I read to him. 
On Sunday Paul's dad's parents invited their whole family over to have lunch and meet Wilder. In typical Mama Sue fashion it was a Southern feast and it was so fun to see all of them. Wilder loved Paul's grandparents and all the aunts were so sweet loving on him. It was a fun and happy afternoon. 
Monday we made some last visits -- to see my mom's boss of 15 years at her office and to see Wilder's Daddy G one last time. Then that night my grandmother, a couple friend of my parents' whose sons William and I grew up with, and Paul's mom came over to visit and say goodbye. It was a nice, relaxing ending to a hectic trip. 
Tuesday morning we made the drive back to Nashville for our flight. Wilder slept the whole way in the car so of course he was wide awake for most of the plane ride, which was pretty exhausting and nerve-wracking for me. He did really well though and entertained himself by flirting with the lady sitting next to us and awkwardly staring at the people across the aisle from us. When he got antsy I would lift him up and down over my head to look at everyone behind us. I know the 30 rows behind us thought it was weird to see this baby keep popping up at the front of the plane but he loved it. When we landed and were waiting to exit the plane everyone around us commented on what a good baby he had been so that was a relief. We were both so excited to see Paul!

Wilder and Paul watching for our bags
We've been pretty out of sorts since we got back to San Diego. I've been exhausted and Wilder has apparently forgotten how to play by himself -- something I worked so hard to teach him. I usually let him play alone during part of his morning playtime but my parents got up with him every morning during our trip and I wanted them to get to spend as much time as possible with him so I just let them play with him. It's OK, I'm sure he'll get back into his old routine soon enough and the time he spent with them is priceless. 
Also, the time difference didn't bother him while we were in TN, in fact it was nice because he actually slept a little later in the mornings. But coming back... ugh, he woke up at 5:00 AM that first morning thinking it was 7:00 AM. He's slept progressively later each day so hopefully that will even out soon too. Getting thrown off our schedule was definitely hard but the trip was sooooo worth it. We've spent this week recuperating and it's been nice to not have anywhere to go the last few days. 
Last night Paul got out of class early so we walked down the street to the North Park Farmer's Market. There's a booth there that has the best roasted red bell pepper hummus and we stocked up on some beautiful heirloom tomatoes too. It was fun to walk around and sample stuff from all the booths. We stopped at a booth selling all different kinds of Indian foods and Wilder had his first taste of real food -- mango lassi (a traditional Indian yogurt-based drink). I personally thought it was delicious but he sort of spit it out and let it dribble down his chin. I don't think the proprietor was too offended though, haha ;)
Anyway, we had a great trip and a wonderful time visiting with everyone. Thank you to everyone who took the time to see us and we are already looking forward to our next trip in May when (I can't believe it) my baby brother is getting married! 

Tomorrow we go to cousin Henry's 1st birthday party up in La Habra. It's going to be so cute and fun and we are looking forward to seeing Amber, Travis, and Henry again. 

Well, that's all, I suppose. No really, I can't think of one more thing to say, can you believe it? ;) I'll just leave you with a few more cute photos from the past two weeks...