Saturday, July 23, 2011


The cats continue to do amazingly well with Anna.  Milo even lets her "pet" him these days ... afterall, they do recommend exposing babies to different textures : )  Anna received a new, super-fun activity mat last week and the cats immediately realized, like the rest of her toys, they were to stay off.  Buuuttttt, no one said anything about under ...  "But, Mom, I'm not ON the mat ...", similar to the many, many times I told my parents "But, I'm not touching him" when my finger was a mere 1mm away.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Growin' Like a Weed: Month Two

We survived our first major round of shots yesterday and true to her perfect form, Anna was an angel.  She cried a tiny bit with the first shot and let out a pretty loud yelp / cry with the second one, but was fine once I was able to hold her.  I am positive that I was more upset and shed more tears than she did; and this solidified the fact that I have the best baby ever.  Her pediatrician was pleased with her proportionate growth and even more pleased with her activity level and excellent eating and sleeping habits.  The good news is we aren't due back for two months, the bad news is that her shots will be repeated during that visit. 

Her two month stats are:
  • 9lbs, 10oz; a gain of 1lb, 9oz since last month
  • 22 1/4 inches; a gain of 1 3/4 inches since last month
  • 14 1/2 inch head circumference, a gain of 1/2 inch since last month

Our smiley girl is getting longer and less "baby-faced" each day,
still available for the best snuggles, though : )
(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Grandma's Girl

In addition to meeting her Grand-pap, Anna had a ball visiting with her Grandma and meeting a few other Kellys while we were in Pittsburgh.  Her Grandma is a shopper extraordinaire, has a knack for decorating and is one of the best cooks around ... and she loved just soaking it all in!

Listening intently to Grandma's words of wisdom

Utterly shocked upon hearing the stories of Dad and Uncle Brian and Sean's childhood antics ...
(I LOVE this picture!)

Grandma gives the best cuddles!

Meeting Aunt Ginny ... Anna can't wait to attend her annual Christmas Eve Bash this year!

Showing Uncle Sean how strong she's gotten since his last visit!

Meeting Aunt Kathleen, Anna's Great-Godmother and so much fun to hang out with!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Letter to Anna: Month Two

Dear Anna,

I don't know when you are "officially" considered an infant and no longer a newborn, but I'm certain you think of yourself as a toddler stuck in a baby's body at this point; you are a mover and a shaker! It started with loving activity time of all sorts, with a preference for being on your tummy, morphed into you rolling over at 6 weeks and now you can be found wiggling or conducting your orchestra / directing traffic with your arms and attempting to crawl and push up with your legs during all of your waking hours. What can we say; you apparently have places to go and people to see.

Although all of this is exciting, we certainly don't want you to rush growing up. That said, you've done a lot of just that over the past month. We moved you out of the bassinet in our room and into your "big girl" crib about 3 weeks ago and you love it. Probably due to the fact that you no longer have to endure your Dad's snoring. But most likely due to the fact that you can squirm, grunt and toot your way to sleep without a nosy Mama peeking in every other minute. You've even started to take your naps in the crib, a good 2 - 2 1/2 hour one in the mornings and sometimes another long nap in the afternoon.

Even though you don't get to spend nearly enough time with him, you have your father wrapped around your little finger. He's started to give you a bottle and put you to bed each night so that you have dedicated "Daddy-Daughter Time." The first day we tried the evening feeding I was prepared for the worst … I had set myself up to pump while he fed you and was next to the baby monitor the entire time. After 15 minutes your Dad appeared and I was positive he was going to ask me to come in to feed you myself and soothe you to sleep … instead he held up an empty bottle and noted you were swaddled and drifting off. I was proud, sad and nostalgic all at the same time.

You decided this month that pooping was taking up extremely too much of your time and find it more efficient to only expel your waste a couple days a week. During the first week-long poop strike we were mildly worried, but a check during your one-month visit to the pediatrician confirmed there were no medical issues and apparently it's relatively normal for breastfed babies. You prefer to poop on the weekends … maybe you see being a baby as your full-time job and pooping is a leisure activity … or maybe you know that two sets of hands are beneficial when diapering after that long a stretch. Either way, what there is no lack of during these strikes are toots. You toot with gusto and make sure they count. Seriously, sometimes I think I gave birth to a teenage boy … the smell can be strong enough to wake me out of a semi-sleep state during your late night feedings.  It's a good thing we use an air purifier as white noise in your nursery.

We've started to mingle with other children this month and you are generally a star. We attend the neighborhood playgroup on Mondays, have Gymboree Play & Music class on Wednesdays and usually meet up with a friend for a Smoothie/Coffee dates on Fridays. Although you are usually the smallest child, you "wow" everyone with your personality, strength and happy disposition.

As many independent steps as you are already taking, you're still my sweet little baby and I cherish every single moment we have together. I love the quiet morning feedings when you're easing into the world and afternoons when you are starting the fight sleep, but still want to move and play. Most of all, I love knowing that you're my daughter and although you are growing fast, you'll always be my little baby.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Going, Going, Gone

Milo still loves to hide under the couch ... the fun has grown exponentially now that Daisy is too fat to join him ...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Nothin' Like the Real Thing

We travelled to Pittsburgh over the 4th of July holiday weekend to visit with Mike's family and during our trip Anna was finally able to meet someone VERY special, her Grandpa Kelly, aka Grand-pap. Mike's father has been dealing with some medical issues since last November and hadn't been able to travel to meet his sweet baby granddaughter yet. I'd seen him with children on several occasions, and outside of seeing what fine young men he raised, knew he'd be a wonderful Grandpa to Anna.  Of course he'd seen plenty of pictures and heard all about her from the rest of the family, but there's nothing like an in-person snuggle to bring it home. 

Needless to say, we had a wonderful visit ... Anna was cuddled to her heart's content, was royally spoiled by many Kelly family members and (maybe most importantly) learned a few valuable lessons about dishwasher organization while we were there.  She loves her Grand-pap and can't wait to see him again very soon!

"I heart Grandpa" says her shirt ... chatting it up about the drive moments after arriving ...
"I went through two new states today, Grand-pap, it was soooo much fun!"

Grand-pap turned out to be the Baby Whisperer and soothed Anna to dreamland for a few hours

"So, you're telling me that one day you may let me change the channels?!?"

She's one of the first that's been allowed to sit in Grand-pap's chair ...
Settling in nicely and already discussing Pittsburgh sports with the family
"I love visiting Grandma and Grand-pap!!"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What's Cookin': Father's Days

I wanted to make Father's day this year something special, but with Mike having golf plans with friends Saturday afternoon and Anna just settling into a schedule where bedtime came around 7:30pm, dinner out didn't seem to be in the cards.  It was for the best as an evening at home with a restaurant-style meal, a glass of wine and a movie was perfect.  I wanted to make one of Mike's favorite dishes, Veal Parmesan, but alas, two butchers were out of veal, so chicken prevailed.  Dessert needed no substitutions and was his Mom's "famous" Chocolate Cream Pie ... yummmm! 

I was able to do most of the dinner preparation during Anna's morning nap and we dined after she went to bed, so that our food didn't get cold while we stared at our little angel.  If I do say so myself, it was a great dinner, with even better company!

Veal (or Chicken) Parmesan

4 veal cutlets or chicken breasts pounded to 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness *
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten with a little water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup homemade or canned tomato sauce, seasoned with oregano, parsley, salt and pepper (or your favorite pasta sauce)
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Fresh basil

*  To pound veal or chicken out, place meat between two pieces of wax paper and use a small skillet to beat down, as you pound the meat, bring the skillet toward you and rotate with each maneuver.  (As you can see, I didn't get the chicken as slim as I'd wished ... the breasts the butcher gave me were huge and I was worried that Anna was going to wake up from her nap with me beating pieces of meat on the counter ... )

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 T of the olive oil. 

Place the flour on a plate or piece of waxed paper. Place the bread crumbs on a separate plate or piece of waxed paper, combining with 2 T of the parmesan cheese.  Set up your assembly line with the flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs, with the breadcrumbs being closest to your skillet. 

Dip the veal in the flour to coat both sides and shake off excess. Then dip in the egg wash. Finally, dip in the bread crumbs and coat both sides.  Add the veal or chicken, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry until nicely browned, 2 or 3 minutes per side, adjusting the heat if it browns too fast. Remove from pan and do the second batch, adding the remaining olive oil as needed.

Top each cutlet with one-fourth of the mozzarella slices and sprinkle with torn fresh basil.  Then spread with 2 tablespoons of sauce and top with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Place on a lightly oiled or sprayed baking sheet and broil on high heat until cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
If preparing ahead, place the cooked veal or chicken in a baking dish and refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with cheeses and sauce.  Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through and cheeses are melted and bubbly, place under the broiler for a few minutes if needed or desired.
Chocolate Cream Pie
5 T flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
2 cups of milk, scalded
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 t vanilla
2 1oz squares unsweetened chocolate
1 9 inch pie shell, baked and cooled (use an recipe you choose ... mine comes from Pillsbury, ha)
Cool Whip

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Scald the milk by heating in the microwave, about 2-3 minutes (check at 1 minute intervals). Afterwards, heat the chocolate squares with a little milk (1 tsp or so) in the microwave until melted. Slowly stir milk into the flour mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in melted chocolate. Cook for about 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat, until thick, stirring frequently.

Add a bit of the hot mixture to the eggs to temper them, beat, and then pour eggs into the saucepan while stirring. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla. Pour into the baked and cooled pie shell. Top with Cool Whip when cool and set.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mom Lives!

Because I'm home with Anna all day it seems like I'm her personal photographer and then in the evenings I hate to take time away from Mike ... so, it's rare that I see myself when I upload any pictures.  Mike took matters into his own hands the other night and captured a few shots that prove I'm actually spending time with my daughter : )  Please disregard the double chin ... the only downside to fun time on the couch : )

She is getting soooooo good at holding her head up ... pretty much Superwoman!
My sweetie pie!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Daddy Time

Anna loves spending time with her Dad and it's always bittersweet when he has a few minutes in the morning before leaving for work.  Here's a little peek from last week, before he had to head out to bring home the bacon ...

Dads are the best!

"I love you THIS much"
Happy as a clam after some morning Daddy time

Mike has started giving her a bottle at her last feeding of the day, between 7pm and 8pm, and then putting her down for the night while I pump for the next night and start dinner.  I love that they have a dedicated and special time each day and know with 100% certainty know that she's got Mike wrapped around her little finger tighter than a boa constrictor could ever manage  : )

Sunday, July 3, 2011


In my last post Anna was pictured with Cutie the Cat and I am so very glad that she was able to meet her ...

You see, Cutie passed away just three days after our visit.  It was bittersweet as it was her time, but selfishly she represented a living tie to my childhood, my Dad's home and oh-so-many memories.  We adopted Cutie my freshman year in high school and she fit in from the moment she arrived home, and like all of our cats developed her own personality that we fell in love with. 

A few years later my parents divorced and Cutie stayed with my Dad and other cat, Duncan (also an awesome pet!).  When my Dad remarried she became quick friends with her new family, which included three small children.  Unlike some cats, she loved all humans and never met a stranger.  Her signature move was licking your hand if you reached down to pet her.  And she'd go to town leaving you clean a whistle and thoroughly exfoliated : )  She loved getting brushed and loved eating the treats she received as her reward even more.  She begged for food at dinner, cuddled in your lap as you watched TV and loved to make kitty biscuits on your belly.  She befriended every child that came through Dad's house and with Anna's visit she even crossed generations. 

She was almost 19 years old, but still looked spry as they come.  We often joked that she was the Jack LaLanne of cats.  Dad noticed she was having issues several months ago and a visit to the Vet confirmed kidney issues.  She was put on special food, but when her eating started to slow down, we knew she was getting worse.  Those final months Dad (who detests wet cat food) let her enjoy plain old, stinky wet cat food and made her as comfortable as he could. 

I can't thank my Dad enough for taking such good care of her during those last days.  I know it killed him to put her down, but it was 100% the right thing to do.  When I heard the news I was a mess, but felt even worse for my Dad; I wish I'd been there with him.  In the end, I'm just happy I got to say goodbye and the pictures below are priceless to me.  I know that Cutie is up in kitty cat heaven having a ball with her old friends and making new ones.  And licking hands every chance she gets. 

My friend Phil said once said about the passing of his cat, Pink, that "He had little strange traits that provided Jennifer and I with at least one laugh every day.  That's pretty impressive.  If someone can make you laugh once a day without the ability to speak, I think that's doing pretty good."  That's what Cutie provided to us and truer words have never been spoken. 

The pictures below were taken back-to-back and show how friendly and loving Cutie was ...
she literally never met a stranger and instantly fell under Anna's spell.