Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Oh what a difference a year makes...with most things at least.

This time last year Eammon and I were both just recently home from the hospital. My parents were here taking care of all of us as Eammon was using all his energy to get in some time at work and recover from his illness and I could barely make it though a day, unable to care for myself let alone Maisie. We did have a Thanksgiving dinner but I was barely keeping rice and water in me so I really couldn't eat any of the meal, in fact the only thing that I really remember from Thanksgiving day was that the smell of the turkey roasting made me

This year my Mom has a little cold which hopefully will bake out of her quickly as tomorrow morning they're off to Aruba where she can rest under the warm Arubian sun and get healthy. The rest of us are all thankfully healthy and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we stay that way. We've had a nice visit with my parents this past week. Maisie's loved having her grandparents here and I've appreciated my Mom's help in cooking and getting meals together for Eammon for when Maisie and I are away. To finish off my parent's visit, today we enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

So what hasn't changed since last year? Check out this piccie of my Mom & Maisie from last year compared to the picture above. Just by dumb luck Maisie's pants and my Mom's jacket are the exact same this year as what they were wearing last year when I snapped their piccie, too funny!

Hope that everyone enjoyed a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knuckle Sandwich

It has been another fun week here in the land of Maisie. Friday we met up with Kathy & Chani for lunch at Zucca. It was nice catching up with Kathy as it's been a while since we were last together and the little girls had so much fun together and oh my how they've both grown up, just the way they interacted and behaved. Don't you just want to squeeze those two, they're just so stinkin' adorable!

Saturday my parents arrived for a week long visit. Maisie was so excited that Grandma & Grandpa were coming to see her, she couldn't wait to make the trip to the airport to pick them up. We enjoyed a nice dinner at home and a quiet evening together.

Sunday morning we took my parents out for brunch at Maisie's favorite restaurant and our favorite sushi place. Everyone enjoyed the food...a little too much as we all came home stuffed to the gills. After the meal the adults wanted nothing more than to lay down and take a nap but Maisie was little Miss energizer bunny and had no desire to lay down, rest or even slow down. As soon as we arrived home I set Maisie up with a video and then all the adults hit the beds for a little snooze. Eammon and I could only rest for an hour then we had to get up so that we could take Maisie to A's fifth birthday party. Even though the party was fun I only stayed for a short time before heading home as I wanted to get dinner started. My sacrifice in going home early was worth it as the roasted butternut squash soup that I prepared for dinner was absolutely delish...even though everyone could only handle a small amount as we were all still full from brunch.

Monday was an extremely busy yet absolutely fun day. My Mom, Maisie and I headed out early to do all the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and the week. The stores were thankfully quite empty, I was very organized and had my list together so even though we hit three stores we still made it home in record time. Once home I put my Mom to work and the two of us went into major cooking mode. Most of what we cooked was for Eammon's freezer meals. My Mom made some absolutely delicious baked stuffed flounder and I made a couple of crab and veggie quiches, a shrimp, clam, olive, sun dried tomato and caper sauce which was put over angle hair pasta as well as spaghetti bolognase. Before we knew it, it was time to take Maisie to gymnastics. The gym was closed for regular practices so it was more of a camp set up and Maisie had fun being with a different set of girls. After all the shopping and cooking of the day, my Mom & I enjoyed sitting down for a bit and just watching. As soon as we arrived home I started heating up dinner as I knew that I only had an hour before it was time to head out for my girls night out. But just minutes after arriving home Anne called to find out if I could be ready in 20 minutes. I gave my Mom some quick directions for dinner and getting Maisie to bed, I got myself washed up and dressed and it was kisses goodbye as I was out the door with not a minute to spare.

A few weeks ago Anne invited me along with another neighbor Natercia to join her and her sister Barbara for the Guy Fieri Road Show in Atlanta. The reason that Anne wanted us ready early is that she wanted us to join her at a pre-concert reception. By the time we got to the venue Guy Fieri had just left the reception but we did spend some time with the totally buff Robert Irvine who's been a long time friend of Anne's.

After the reception we were off to watch the show where we all had a great time. I think it was midnight by the time we arrived home but oh what fun it was. Maisie was a good girl for my parents but once I arrived home and started getting ready for bed she awoke and wanted to chat and spend time with me because she had missed me so much. So sweet but I was knackered and wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and quickly fall asleep but I love that she missed me so and we spent about an hour cuddling and talking before she was ready to sleep again. A long, busy and fun day!

This morning my parents watched Maisie as Anne, her Mom and I headed out to do a little shopping at the Asian market. After shopping it was great to arrive home and find Maisie fed, in bed for nap (though not sleeping, nor did she ever sleep during nap time today) and all the laundry I had in the washer dried, folded and ready to be put've gotta love having Mom visit! After no-nap-nap-time my parents headed out for a walk and Maisie and I headed over to K & A's so that she could play with her friends. I spent time chatting with Anne, her Mom & sister while we all watched Anne do a bit of cooking and benefited with sampling all her creations.

Tomorrow I'll start prepping and cooking for Thanksgiving. I can't believe that 2009 is almost over, time just seems to be moving at warp speed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cooking, maturing and days racing by

This has been a really good week thus far. Friday morning started with my taking Maisie to get the H1N1 mist. One of the urgent care offices really close to our home had the mist available so we headed on over, got in quickly as there was no line, I filled out the paperwork and was all set...only to find out that we have to wait until at least next week for her to get it as it could interact with the seasonal flu mist which she received the end of October during her physical. So, next week we'll have to see if and where the vaccine or mist is available and do the whole thing over again. Then that afternoon Maisie had an awesome swim lesson with her instructor Rosemary. Due to our travels, scheduling conflicts, a class time change and teacher illness, Maisie missed a couple of weeks so it was good to return. I was happy to see that Maisie had retained what she'd previously learned and was able to pick up right where she left off.

Our weekend was fun too and the beautiful sunny warm weather made for awesome days. On Saturday Eammon took Maisie, K & A to the playground and they had fun running around and playing games. I liked that it gave me some alone time at home to run the vacuum and sort though some of Maisie's old toys getting them ready for donation pick-up. On Sunday Maisie had fun playing outside for a good part of the day with K & A. I on the other hand spent most of the day cooking, cooking and a little more cooking. I've started making meals for Eammon to have while Maisie and I are away in Aruba. I figure if the poor guy has to stay home and work while we're lounging on the beach and playing in the surf and sand, the least I can do is pack the freezer with some delicious homemade meals. Before I leave I want to have about 30 meals in the freezer ready for him. So far I've frozen a couple containers each of roasted lemon-garlic chicken with caramelized vegetables, curried shepherd's pie, hearty curried beef stew with jasmine rice and grilled eel with udon noodles. Each time I make a meal this and next week I plan to make extra so that I can pack more away for him but if anyone has some good suggestions or recipes that freeze and reheat well, please pass them along.

Since I was cooking up a storm Sunday I invited K, A & their parents over for Sunday dinner. Our meal started with a spiced cream cheese spread topped with homemade pumpkin butter on butter crackers and also some brie with a great pepper jam on multi-grain crackers. We then feasted on some of the roasted chicken & caramelized veg, the curried beef stew and some wasabi coleslaw. We finished the meal with homemade s'mores brownies which I'm sad to say were only a partial success. It was a new brownie recipe that sat on top of a graham cracker based crust and topped with browned marshmallows. The crust and brownies were both wonderful but for some reason the marshmallows were too thick and chewy to the point of being difficult to eat. In the end I pulled off the marshmallow top and everyone enjoyed the brownies and crust. To make up for the failed topping Eammon pulled out the can of squirt cream and filled Maisie, K & A's mouths with cream and they all thought that was wonderful. By the time they all left it was bedtime, a super fun way to finish the weekend, good food and time with friends.

Monday felt a bit strange at first with Maisie not having ballet but I loved having the afternoon free as having extra time to spend with Maisie was fun. We worked on a few arts & crafts projects, did a little cooking and even made some homemade larabars. Tim our gardener was here working and I could have kissed him as he made me so happy when he told me that his plans of moving to Texas in January had changed and for now they're staying here in Georgia, woohoo! He is just such a nice guy and the best gardener ever, I wasn't looking forward to him leaving so I'm happy beyond words that he'll be here for at least a little longer.

Tuesday was school and gymnastics and it too was a really good day. Just like at school Maisie's the youngest and smallest of her gymnastics group and even though she's always been good at doing the required skills and exercises she would often have a tendency to float to the back of the line, allowing the other girls to cut in front of her and she wasn't always the best at paying attention to the coaches, numerous times missing out on her turn. Not that she was ever bad or naughty it was more that she would do her skill and do it well mind you but then she'd zone into her own little world figuring that she had done it and was ready to move on. Lately though I've noticed that she's maturing, being better about paying attention, keeping her place in line and if the bigger girls cut in on her, she's telling them no. Even though she's always loved gymnastics and being at the gym, with her new found maturity and standing up for herself, she's enjoying it even more.

This morning I finally took Maisie's long-sleeved school shirts to the monogram place, poor little Maisie has been in sort-sleeved school shirts with sweaters as I had yet to get everything monogrammed. Maisie had a good day at school and right now she's sound asleep for her nap and once she wakes we're off to do a little shopping. We have a fun weekend ahead with my parents arriving on Saturday to spend the week and Thanksgiving with us and on Sunday it's A's 5th birthday party which we're all looking forward to attending. Monday I have a girl's night out which I'm really looking forward to and I'll be sure to blog about it because I know it's going to be great fun. I have yet to think about Thanksgiving and the meal I need to prepare...OY!! So in addition to recipes for Eammon's freezer meals, any good suggestions for our holiday menu?? I love recipes!

The picture at the top of the post was taken this morning. Maisie's wearing one of her winter school uniforms topped with a sweater as she has a short-sleeved shirt under the jumper. I do love that they can wear any plaid and Maisie still loves picking out and wearing her uniforms each day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My sweet sleeping angel

After school today Maisie took a nap and looked so sweet I just had to snap a piccie. I love how she nestled herself on top of the down comforter and covered herself with a pillow, just tucked in oh-so-sweet.

* Recently, sleep for Maisie has been better as she's mostly sleeping through the night and has been free of night terrors. In addition, most days she's been taking a nap and trust me when I say, that added hour of sleep improves both our moods. The solution for the time being has been to allow Maisie to sleep in bed with me at night as well as take her nap or quiet time there too. Unfortunately none of us sleep well if all three of us are in bed together so poor Eammon has been sleeping in the guest room, which needs to end soon. Since Maisie and I will be away all of December and she'll be sleeping with me then, we figured that there's no point in trying to transition her back to her own bed at this point but after the first of the year it's something that we're going to have to work on. I on the other hand have been experiencing a bout of insomnia so it's nice that when I do finally fall asleep she's not waking up screaming thus interrupting what little sleep I do get.

* Maisie's schedule has eased up a bit as I've pulled her from ballet. Maisie's been resisting going to ballet for a number of weeks but I've sort of forced the issue. Each time after class she'd go on and on about how much fun it was and how much she enjoyed the class but the following week she wouldn't want to go again. I'm not sure why she's decided that she doesn't want to attend any longer and hopefully in the future she'll decided to start up again but for now her schedule is pretty busy and an additional afternoon off is probably a good thing.

* This past weekend I cleaned all the summer clothing out of my closet and every item either went into the Goodwill pile or I packed it for Aruba. Here I am, just over three weeks until we fly out and I'm already fully packed! Twenty-three sleeps until Maisie and I are wiggling our toes in the warm Arubian sand...not that I'm counting or anything!

* Do not buy this item as they're totally addictive! All I can say is that I'm glad the bag is finished and they'll never be allowed back in this house again.

* This item and this one too are totally delish and I've stocked the house with extra boxes as they're only available this time of year so hurry, go get some while you can. (I found them locally at Walmart)

* I can't believe that Thanksgiving is only two weeks from today, where has this year gone?? Other than being packed for Aruba I'm so unprepared for the remainder of the year. I have nothing planned for our Thanksgiving meal nor have I started getting meals ready for Eammon for when Maisie and I are away. I need to get myself organized too as once Maisie and I return from Aruba we're home for only four days before we fly out again...OY, my head is spinning! I just purchased a couple of small Christmas pressies for Maisie that I can easily pack and take with us for our Christmas in London but that's all the holiday shopping I've done. Thankfully though during our brief four days home between trips I won't have to worry about getting everything washed immediately as we won't be taking any of our Aruba clothes on our England trip. On the other hand, I'm already dreading the amount of laundry that I know will await me once we return from that second my head is spinning even faster!

* Well, Maisie's sleeping soundly and it's time for me to get off the computer and try and get some sleep too. Ta for now.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Gymnastics times two

This afternoon started with Maisie and her gymnastics teammates doing a little performance at an event at a local park. The girls were adorable (naturally!) and they did a good job. Sorry for the bad quality on the video, I need a new camera and hands that don't shake like an earthquake is happening but it's the best I have. It's a bit difficult to see but Maisie is the last girl to enter and does her skills without a partner. If you can hang on and watch through the trembles to the 2:45 mark, check out my girl's awesome back-bend-kick-over.

After the performance we headed over to the gym to celebrate K's 7th birthday. (K is in pink and silver standing directly behind Maisie) The party was great fun as even I took a turn on the trampoline! Oh yeah, the children had a good time too doing all the gymnastics activities. Before heading upstairs for pizza & cupcakes they all received their medals. It was a long, beautiful and fun day and spending it with friends and having Maisie doing what she loves the most was just perfect.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Low-Low, Maisie, Emi & Bri

Today Maisie and I met up with Pug Mama & Low-Low, Liene & Emilija and Lisa & Briana at The Cheesecake Factory. We've been looking forward to meeting Low-Low since her arrival home in June and finally we were all able to arrange our schedules so to meet. It always amazes me how perfect our children are matched to our families as Low-Low is the perfect addition to the Pug Mama family. It was a great lunch, the company and the food and we can't wait to meet up again.

Low-Low was a great eater and a perfect little lady but chose to do only serious poses for my camera. Hopefully next time we meet up she'll be all smiles.

Emi seemed to enjoy watching the big girls but she did a lot better in the eating department than Maisie & Bri.

Maisie and Briana as always had fun together. Both of them filled up on bread & butter so that when their meals of mac & cheese arrived, neither ate more than a mouthful. They did though have fun playing math & word games on my iPhone and of course lots of giggles were involved.

When it was time to say goodbye the girls were so cute giving hugs.

The Mamas and their girls. Me & Maisie, Pug Mama & Low-Low, Liene & Emilija and Lisa & Briana.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Three years ago today

Is it three years already? On the other hand though, has it only been three years?? It was three years ago today that we received our referral of our sweet Maisie Miao Miao. The time has seemed to fly by yet it feels like a lifetime she's been with us. I still get teary eyed thinking back to that day, remembering the first time I laid eyes on our little cue-ball cutie. I'm truly thankful every day, even on the challenging ones, that we were matched with the perfect child for our family. We've loved you Maisie Miao Miao from the first time we laid eyes on your picture to today and that love will continue tomorrow and forever, you are our love and best girl ever.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Loser Mom Blogger

Shoot I don't even have a picture from Halloween. Time just seems to be getting away from me lately and I've been so bad about taking pictures, just not pulling out the camera. I know I've said numerous times in various posts that I need to or will get better about taking pictures and posting and the next thing I know, a week has passed without a picture or a post. In fact the pictures in this post weren't even taken by me, Michael & Ilene took them with his cell phone when we met for brunch on Sunday. I'm a total loser, I know!! So in my attempt to play catch up, here comes a post about what's been happening since the last time I posted.

I've been doing a lot of cooking lately, the colder weather has had me craving heartier foods and soups so I've made quite a few new recipes, some of which can now be found on CookLisaCook. Our recent dinners have included both new creations as well as some old favorites: Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder, Red Curry Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup Florentine, Curried Shepherd's Pie, a totally absolutely awesome Coriander Roasted Salmon with a Yogurt Cilantro Sauce and of course some sweets all of which have included pumpkin but the only one posted thus far are some super moist and delish Pumpkin Blondies. So needless to say, we've been doing a lot of good eating!

I also seem to be doing a lot of shopping lately, the sales have been too incredible to pass up. Just for example, yesterday I was at Land's End where I scored some great bathing suits for me at 85% off, perfect for when we head to Aruba in December. Then today I was in Macy's and though not as fabu of a deal, I now have some nice pants, sweaters and tops at 70% off, not too shabby and they'll serve me well this winter. Then of course there have been days like last Tuesday when I headed to Costco for gas and to buy one giant bag of Romaine lettuce (we've also been eating a lot of Caesar salad) and by the time I walked out the door, somehow managed to spend $187. I did have one other big purchase this week. Can you believe that after ONLY 24 years and trust me, not super heavy usage, my vacuum decided that it didn't want to work anymore?? Gosh, they just don't build things to last! So Saturday I purchased a new vacuum and just slap me silly as to how much better and how much easier it is to use. Of course even though it's shiny, new and powerful that doesn't mean it's going to get used any more often than the old one, but at least when I do use it will be easier and do a much better job.

This past week has been good in that Maisie has responded well to her increased allergy meds. After only four days at the higher dosage her nose was no longer running, she was no longer coughing from the drip and her throat no longer bothered her. In addition, because she's feeling better, she's sleeping better so her attitude and mood is back to normal. She's had a good week being busy with school, ballet, gymnastics and time with friends.

Maisie had the best time on Halloween. Both Maisie and K decided that they wanted to be gymnasts so an easy costume of a leotard, warm-ups and their gymnastics medals, easy-peasy but as I said, loser Mom here so no piccies. Saturday afternoon we all went over to K & A's house along with some other neighbors where we had a totally gourmet dinner as each person who brought over a dish really outdid themselves and all the food was awesome. After dinner and some playtime the Dads took the group of seven kids out trick-or-treating while a few of us Moms stayed back at the house, continuing to socialize and passing out candy to the oh-so-few trick-or-treaters. The weather wasn't the best, raining on and off so not many children out but Maisie and her friends had a blast. After all the excitement and way too much candy Maisie was wired and even though we all got into bed at the same time, Maisie was too wired to sleep and out lasted both Eammon and I, staying up way past her bedtime. Since she's been sleeping better and had been up very late Saturday night, I had high hopes of her sleeping in Sunday morning but alas she was up at sparrows fart and had no desire or plans to lay still, keep quiet or let anyone else get some additional sleep.

Sunday was another fun day as we met up with friends Ilene, Michael and April at Maisie's favorite restaurant, Nori Nori. As always we had a great time together and brunch was incredible. Maisie and April always have so much fun and of course are adorable together so that always makes for an enjoyable time. After the girls finished eating they had fun playing games on my iPhone while the adults finished and spent time socializing. Then it was hugs good-bye and sadly because of busy schedules for all of us, it will probably be next year before we all get together again.

Well that about sums up our week and here we start again, another chance for me to pull out the camera and post more often...let's see what happens...

And because no post is complete with out a piccie or two, the pictures of April and Maisie that Michael took with his cell phone.

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