Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving was a great day. We went to DJ's aunt and uncles and then over to Justin and Heidi's for a little while. Last night we drove out to Roanoke - Jackson slept 3/4 of the way here and played with his toys the rest of the way. Everyone was waiting for us when we arrived at Matt's - Jackson of course was the highlight. :)
Today we are just hanging around Roanoke. Tonight is the Haefli family reunion - hosted by my dad this year. Should be fun! DJ can't sit still so he's walking around the farm and heading over to Martin Implements to check out the equipment.
Tomorrow is my annual shopping day with my dad! I'm SO excited! DJ will stay in Roanoke with DJ and we are off to the windy city! I am especially excited as I haven't bought any Christmas gifts yet. My friends' gift exchange theme this year is "Stocking Stuffers" and I haven't bought Kara (whose name I drew) a single thing! I hope to find her some cute stuff in Chi-town.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I'm making Paula Deen's Creamy Macaroni & Cheese for Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow at DJ's aunt and uncle's house. Someone at work recommended it to me. I am excited to try it out! Here's the recipe:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn't quite 2 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stuck) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to everyone! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays - great food, time spent with family, and a reminder to be thankful for what I have. Here's some things that I'm thankful for this year:

  • My little boy, Jackson. The past five months of my life have been the best five months of my life. I am so lucky to be your mom.
  • DJ - I love you more now that you are Jack's dad. You are so great with him and he loves his dad sooo much.
  • Chocolate Chip Dessert Balls - Kelly - thanks for this recipe. It was a hit at our first Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday. Mmmm...think I'll go eat some very soon.
  • My parents - they are so supportive and love me unconditionally - I hope that I can be as good of a parent as they've shown me to be.
  • My grandparents! Thanks so much for watching Jack for the past 6 weeks - I KNEW you'd take such great care of him.
  • Friends - I am so lucky to have an incredible group of girlfriends that let me vent when I need to, cry when I need to, and ALWAYS make me laugh. I am so excited that we are getting together on December 12th for our annual sleep over and gift exchange. I look forward to it every year!
  • My job - although it's been really tough to come back to work since having Jackson, I really am thankful for my job and being able to enjoy what I do (even if it is stressful at times)
  • Movies - does anyone love to go to the movies as mucha s I do? Well I know aunt dawn and heidi do. :) I love seeing movies on the big screen and eating popcorn and the whole experience!
  • Christmas shopping - I haven't started yet - but I can't wait to try to find the perfect gifts for my friends and family.
  • Our health - I'm so blessed to have such a healthy family.
  • hmmm...there's so much to be thankful for - i'll add more later.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jack has four teeth! He popped his fourth tooth through today. Now he has three on the bottom and one on the top left. My little jack-o-lantern. :) I'd include a picture, but everytime I try to take a look, he sticks his tongue out. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Harvest

On Saturday, Jackson took his very first ride in the combine. I think he loved it! He was so enthralled by the sounds and the sight of the corn being shelled. He got really quiet and was looking all around so fascinated with everything. After about a 1/2 hour of that, he fell sound asleep in my lap. The motion of the combine and the sound of the motor knocked him out! DJ's dad said that DJ used to sleep in the tractor when he was little too. It was so cute. DJ and I have always talked about what it would be like to have our little boy ride in the combine with us and now we've done it. It was such a fun day for our family. Here is a video and some pictures ...
dj & jake

sleeping boy

me and dad

Thursday, November 12, 2009

5 Months Old

Jack turned 5 months old yesterday. Amazing how time flies. I was going back through my camera last night and I cannot believe how much he's changed. Here's some pictures of him on his 5-month birthday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jackson went to a new babysitter yesterday. It was the first time that he was being taken care of by someone who wasn't family. It. Was. Hell. I cried until about 2 p.m. It was like coming back to work all over again! Nothing against Kelly (Jack's babysitter) personally – just leaving him with someone other than family for the first time was so difficult and scary. I mean, with family, you know FOR SURE that he will be well taken care of. While I trust Jess’s judgement (my friend who introduced me to Kelly), and I called and spoke with a few of Kelly's references, you still just never know. I was sitting in my department meeting at work with tears streaming down my face (hoping that no one would see me) thinking about all the bad things she could have been doing to him. I know that’s not what I should be thinking, but I couldn’t help it. I stayed with him until about 10 a.m. and then went back to visit around 2.
The good news is that by the end of the day, I felt much better. Kelly was wonderful with him. She was kissing his hands and holding him and playing with him within five minutes of us bringing him in. When I started crying when I was leaving him in the morning, she cried too! She said she totally understood how I must feel as a mom and I thought it was so sweet that she cried.
She kept this adorable little journal of his day. It was like “Today was my first day at my friend Vienne’s house (Kelly’s daughter). We played together until 10 o’clock and then Kelly took us on a walk by the river. At 1 p.m. we ate lunch and then Kelly changed my diaper….” So cute. She also washed his clothes and bottles and packed them in my diaper bag. She really went above and beyond what I had expected. I have really high hopes. As I get to know Kelly better and trust her even more, I think I’ll be really confident that she is taking excellent care of him. But the first day – oh my gosh was that hard.

Grape Salad Recipe

Mmmmmm. That's all I have to say about this delicious dish that Sara's friend Tiffany made for the baby shower on Sunday. It was a hit! Here's the recipe for everyone to enjoy ...

Grape Salad with Brown Sugar and Pecan Topping

4 lbs grapes(a mix of colors); cleaned
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract For the topping:
1 cup brown sugar; packed
1 cup crushed pecans
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and crushed pecans for the topping. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar sour cream and vanilla until blended. Stir in the grapes. Cover with the topping and chill for at least two hours.

Baby Shower

On Sunday, we threw a baby shower for DJ's cousin Sara. She is looking very cute with her baby bump and now we are just waiting for little Carter James to get here. He's due February 13th! Congratulations mommy-to-be! Jack and Carter will be great friends.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Haaaaaalelujah! Haaaaalelujah! Jackson slept THROUGH THE NIGHT last night for the first time in his life. Since he was born, Jackson has been waking up anywhere from 2 to 6 times per night. I belive that this is because we had created a habit of feeding him every time he woke up - this stemmed from his need to eat every few hours when he was a newborn.
I was at my wits end. DJ and I were running on very little sleep and it was becoming difficult to function at work and to be nice to each other. :) So...I decided to ask around and do some reading about ways to help babies sleep through the night. Jackson's new babysitter, Kelly, told me that she had done the same thing with her daughter - feeding her every night, each time she woke up. Kelly's pediatrician told her that she should have stopped doing so when her daughter was around 3 or 4 months of age. So, Kelly bought this book called "Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Dr. Richard Ferber. She told me that within a week, her daughter was sleeping through the night. I was sold.
So I bought the book. I read it in one night. It was so interesting to read stories about other parents and babies like us. I found that I was not alone and that Jack had learned to expect food every time he woke up and it became necessary for him to eat in order to fall asleep. Dr. Ferber says that babies need to learn how to fall asleep on their own AND that they shouldn't rely on eating in order to fall asleep.
Last night I put this doctor's advice to the test. I was really nervous. I have never wanted to just let Jackson cry - for any reason. I felt like letting him cry just so that I could get some sleep was selfish. But Dr. Ferber said that it's best for both baby and parents if he or she sleeps through the night and with just a few nights of SOME crying, he could help you achieve this.
So I documented everything I did last night. My goal - to gradually decrease the amount of milk that Jackson would eat at each waking, and to teach him to fall asleep on his own.
Here' s my log:
7:30: Put Jackson to bed (after he'd eaten 2 tsp. of rice cereal and drank 6 oz. of milk)
9:20: He woke up at expecting his first meal.
9:25, 9:30, 9:45, 10, 10:15: Checked on Jack and comforted him (without picking him up)
10:30: At this point it had been 3 hours since he had eaten last. I decided that on this first night that three hours between each feeding would be my goal. I gave him three ounces. (Dr. Ferber says to increase this amount of time by 30 minutes each night.)
4:30 am: I LEAP out of bed and rushed into his room to make sure that he was breathing. Surely he couldn't have slept that long
6:30 am: He DID IT! Jack slept through the night from 10:30 pm to 6:30 a.m

I won't lie - it was really hard listening to Jack cry off and on from 9:20 until 10:30. I sat in my room and watched the clock. It was very hard not to go in, pick him up, and give him as much to eat as he wanted, but I knew if I picked him up after 30 minutes of crying then it would all have been for nothing.
I never thought I'd be able to let Jackson cry ... at all ... but I really feel like this went okay. His cries weren't terrible - just winey "come feed me or pick me up cries". I worried this morning that he felt like I had ignored him so I gave him extra hugs and kisses so he'd know how much I loved him. I hope that last night was the beginning of the end of our sleepless nights.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Four Words ...

Chocolate. Caramel. Coffee. Creamer.

This wonderful stuff is so delicious that it actually helps me get out of bed in the morning. Every day, while I drive to work, I drink my flavored coffee and try to 'gear up' for the day. I swear this sweet stuff really helps. If I can't stop at Starbucks in the morning for a caramel machiatto (which rarely happens because I'm always running late) - this is a close second. I would highly recommend it.

In other news ...

Preparing to throw our cousin Sara's baby shower on Sunday. I'm planning to make chicken salad croissants and some kind of pasta salad. If anyone has some good pasta salad recipes please comment!

DJ is in the middle of harvest. He has been shelling corn in Michigan for the past several days.

My cutie pie will be 5 months old a week from today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We took Jackson "trick or treating" on Saturday. He was a giraffe. Not sure he was all that excited about it (see expression above), but obviously we HAD to take him out and about. We visited Grandma and Grandpa Reed, Great Grandma and Grandpa Cole, and Uncle Trace and Aunt Ann. My favorite part of his costume was the little tail on the back. Grandma Ginny about died when she saw that. :)