Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nut bread weekend!

I went home to The Woodlands the weekend of December 13-15 to make nut bread with my sister and mom. It is a tradition in our family to make this bread every year at Christmas time. But, believe it or not, in the almost 30 years I have been alive I have never participated! This was mine and Erin's first year. We were nut bread virgins!

Making this stuff is incredibly labor intensive as you'll see in the pictures. The dough has to be kneaded for at least 30 minutes, allowed to rise for an hour and a half, then rolled out really thin - we used a round table and rolled it almost out to the edges. After it is rolled the dough is brushed with butter, a combination of walnuts and pecans is put down, then a layer of sugar. The bread is then sprinkled with milk to keep it moist. Of course, being the family that we are we changed the recipe a bit. Instead of milk, we used Bailey's. It's my mom, of course we used Bailey's! Next step is to roll it up into one long log and then curled around into a cinnamon roll shape. It is allowed to rise again and then baked. And we did 10 loaves!

This year our bread turned out awesome! So sweet and delicious and you can really taste the Bailey's! Check out our work below (I apologize for how terrible I look - we knew it was going to be a long and dirty process so we didn't get dressed up):
Of course we finished off our day with some Guamanian slushies. Mmmmmmm!
We realized that it had been a long time since just the girls had gotten together to do something. We had a lot of fun. I think the guys were probably glad they weren't around.

That was also my first weekend away from Olivia. John did an awesome job although he did say that he was not at all interested in being a single parent. I was only gone for two nights! I missed them both very much and was glad to get back home.

My friend Renee, whom I have known since 7th grade, stopped by for a visit and just this week I found out that she's pregnant! Congrats Renee! You and Travis are going to be awesome parents.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday parties

I am way behind on my postings. Things got a bit crazy about a week and a half ago and I haven't really been near a computer until today. We had a couple of Christmas parties a couple of weeks ago. One was at one of John's co-workers homes. It was great to have a mini date night. We dropped Olivia off at the babysitter's house and then went out. It was a lot of fun and really nice for me to be able to put faces with names. Unfortunately we didn't want to leave O until too late and we had to get up super early the next morning to get me to the airport to head home for nut bread weekend (separate posting to follow). Here is our Christmas card photo:
The following week we had John's all-staff party at Jobing.com Arena. Some of the players and their families even showed up. They had a little buffet spread set up with make your own cupcakes, etc. It was nice to show Olivia off. She was in a great mood and smiling at everyone. They all loved her pierced ears! The blurry guy behind John is the Coyotes' goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rest in Peace Busha!

In loving memory of Violette Glomski.

March 27, 1920 - December 18, 2008

We love you! Say hi to Dzia Dzia for us. =)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Convertible car seats

We finally got Olivia a new carseat. It is long over due, and though it hasn't been installed yet, I'm sure it is going to work great. The infant carseat we are using right now is good up to 22 pounds, and since she is already 21lb 6.5oz, it was definitely time to bite the bullet and get her a new one. In hindside it probably would have been easier to get a convertible one in the beginning and then we wouldn't have had to worry about getting another one, but I wanted the travel system. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the travel system, but in the interest of saving money it probably would have made more sense to start with a convertible seat. You live and learn. At least now I have what I need for the next child!

Of course it took me f . . o . . r . . e . . v . . e . . r to decide which one I was going to get her. I had picked an Eddie Bauer one out online and had every intention of picking it up at Babies R Us last night. It had a weight limit of 100 pounds so it would last a long time. Well, I get to BRU and find the seat and it does not feel comfortable as all. It was really hard, and I was not going to put Olivia in that uncomfortable hard seat. So I didn't get it. But I did end up picking up the one right next to it. It's an Evenflo Triumph Advance Deluxe, rated up to 35 pounds rear facing and 50 pounds forward facing, so it'll last a long time. It is soft and tan so it won't get burning hot in the Arizona summers. This is what it looks like:
Well, this picture doesn't really show you the colors very well. It is not pastel like this picture. It is a tan color, very neutral. I really hope O likes it because I get totally stressed out when I have to buy safety items for her and I don't want to have to go get another one. Plus, I got a killer deal on it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

6 months old!

Olivia turned 6 months old last Friday! I can't believe it! Part of me looks back and it seems like it took forever but most of me thinks it has just flown by. She also had her 6 month check-up and she is 27 inches long and weighs 21 pounds 6.5 ounces. That puts her in th 90th percentile for height and the 95+ percentile for weight. She is still mainly on breastmilk but is eating rice cereal too. We are slowly introducing veggies and fruits will come later. She DOES NOT like sweet potatoes (she literally gagged when we fed them to her), but she doesn't mind carrots. Green beans and squash will be next. The nurse practitioner is not too concerned about how big she is but she did suggest feeding her the vegetables that are lower calorie. Looks like the poor girl is going to have my metabolism.

Olivia did get a new toy for her half birthday. An Exersaucer! She really seems to love it. And I think that Mom and Dad love it even more because it allows them to get a lot more done. =)
We also finally got her a highchair. I can't really tell what she thinks about it, but she does like that fact that she can bang her hands on the tray and make a bunch of noise. I never thought that, with her size, something would make her look small, but the high chair does.
I got an early Christmas gift on Sunday when I took O to get her ears pierced. John didn't want to do it so he didn't come into the store with me, but she was awesome. She screamed for a minute or so but only because I think it scared her more than anything. She lets me touch them and turn the earring so she's not having any issues with pain or infection. She looks so pretty. I wanted to get them done before her 6 months pictures were taken, so it worked out well.
I have a coworker who is a season ticket holder for the Arizona Diamondbacks and they put out a monthly magazine. He always gives his to me when he's done so I can read it and take it home to John. Olivia enjoyed it as well - both reading and eating it.
On Friday John and I get to have a mini date night. We are going to a Christmas party and leaving Olivia with a babysitter. We don't get to do this much so I'm sure we'll really enjoy it. Then next week we have his all employee holiday party at the arena. We'll take her to that one and show her off.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

You know your child is big for her age when . . .

I really only have one answer. You know your child is big for her age when . . . she weighs as much or more than her 13 month old cousin. Yes, it's true. Olivia, at almost 6 months, weighs the same as Ellie, at 13 months. O had to go to the doctor, again, last Tuesday and weighed in at 21 1/2 pounds. She was also diagnosed with another ear infection. I just knew something was up when the cough from her latest cold went away but then came back with a vengeance on Monday night. So she is on another round of antibiotics and I don't know if they are really helping that much because her cough doesn't seem to be improving. We have her 6 month check-up on Friday, so we'll see then.

Thanksgiving was very nice. We drove down to Tucson to see Jason, Noel & Ellie, who were visiting Jason's dad. The drive was better than I expected and we had a good time with them. It was just a bonus that I didn't have to cook this year! Normally we spend holidays at home so it was good to do something different. Christmas will be here in sunny Arizona. And we'll probably be wearing shorts like we did last year.

We decorated the house for Christmas this weekend and had some fun with Olivia at the same time. One of my coworkers gave me the headband with the reindeer on them. It didn't bother Olivia at all to have them on. She liked the tree too. Check out the double chin (she's bigger than my brother was at 6 months and he was a load!).
We are getting her 6 month portraits taken on Sunday. It is hard for me to believe that it has been 6 months! She has grown and accomplished so much. According to What to Expect the First Year she is right on track developmentally. She is now "scooting" as her form of transportation. She scoots on her butt in order to get closer to things she wants. It's pretty interesting to watch her bend her legs to push herself places. She can stand up with help and she kind of makes the motions of crawling. I don't know how close she is to that yet. I think she weighs herself down too much. We can't decide if she is going to be blond or redheaded. Her hair and eyelashes change with the light. Her hair is coming in a lot thicker so hopefully we will be able to tell soon. Her eyes have remained very blue and I am becoming more and more hopeful that they are going to stay this color. Yay! She is so happy all the time - unless she is hungry or tired. We tried giving her some sweet potatoes on Saturday and Sunday and that didn't really go over well. She pretty much gagged the entire time. I don't think she swallowed any of it. So tonight I am going to try to mix it in her rice cereal and see what happens. Next up will be carrots and squash.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Michelin Woman"

Time for an update! Actually, the Dickey household has been pretty quiet since my last post. No, I have not decided what I am going to give people yet. I went and got my hair cut off last week. I put a couple of pictures below. It's hard to really tell what it looks like. If anyone knows the show "Jon & Kate Plus 8" on TLC (I LOVE this show) I would describe my hair as a modified version of Kate's hair. It's a little longer in the back but still spiky, and a bit shorter in the front. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to style it the way I like. I decided that this haircut really needs highlighted hair. I hate how dark my hair has gotten as I've gotten older.
I got Olivia laughing so hard last night. It was the first time that she really belly-laughed for an extended period of time. She absolutely loves peek-a-boo and if you lean in toward her like you are going to bite her but don't. So I combined the two and got her going for about 5 minutes. John was holding her and cracking up as much as she was. I could have done the game all night. It was so much fun. We had her rollin'! My mom is going to try to come out this weekend so I am going to try to get her going again so we can get it on video.
I had to get a picture of her with her Lynx bib. They sent it to us when I submitted her birth announcement on the alumni website. Very cool. Go Lynxcats!
On Saturday we went to some friends house for a barbecue. There were 3 couples there. The hosts have an 8 month old, we have Olivia at 5 1/2 months, and the third couple is expecting and are at 34 weeks. There was supposed to be a 4th couple there with a 2 week old but unfortunately they were unable to make it. It was so much fun! It was great to talk about the kids and pregnancy. None of us girls were scared to talk about bodily issues when it came to pregnancy and childbirth. They guys were great about all of it and contributed but most of the time probably didn't want to hear about it. I remember sitting there thinking, "I never thought, in a million years, that I would be sitting here talking to other people about baby poop and everything else". The pictures below are what she wore to the party. We ended up taking the headband off because it was too tight, but I am still having her wear them occasionally because she is still being mistaken for a boy. One of my coworkers calls her the "Michelin Woman" because of this picture.
I was going through a cookbook the other night trying to decide on something for dinner and Olivia kept reaching for the book I was looking at, so I pulled out another one and ended up with the following picture. She loves books and I am so glad since both her dad and I are readers.
There are a few more random pictures below. Yes, she weighs more than the cat now. She loves him and tries to grab at his hair, ears, or whiskers any chance she gets.
The hat she is wearing is a Coyotes one. I don't know if you'll be able to tell but she has a rash in this picture. She had a cold that gave her a rash. It didn't bother her, but it didn't look very good. She is a member of Howler's Kids Club (Howler is the Coyotes' mascot) and the hat is one of many goodies that she received when she enrolled. John did manage to get a picture of her with one of his Cowboys hats on her head. There is no way I will put that up for everyone to see. It's awful.
Yes, they are both asleep. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Okay, I want to clarify something because a comment was made to me that my last post may make some people feel like I don't want to give gifts and since I have to I want to do it cheap. THAT IS NOT AT ALL WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY! I feel terrible that someone would think that. It makes my stomach churn.

I wrote it because I WANT to give gifts. I want to make sure that we give everyone we love something to let them know that we care and the only way we might possibly be able to do that is to give something a bit more inexpensive than we'd like. I love giving gifts and I feel so terrible that I can't give great extravagant gifts every year. I actually got really upset on Monday when I started making our Christmas list and realized that I might not be able to get everyone something. I know everybody understands that but I still feel bad.

That's it. No "thing" today, I'm too upset.

Edited to add: The gift ideas were going to be for extended friends and family. I wasn't really including our immediate family there and I know I didn't specify that, but Kelley, you gave me some great ideas for them too. Thanks!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas ideas

Alright, let me paint you a picture:

1. We live in one of the hardest hit real estate areas in the country (read: we owe more on our house than it is worth).
2. Brand new baby leads to 12 weeks off at only 75% pay and lots of added expenses - day care, clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, and on and on and on.
3. The State of Arizona is in the hole about $2 billion in their annual budget which means that we government employees did not get a raise this year and probably won't get one next year either.
4. The economy is crappy so organizations like the Phoenix Coyotes can't afford to give large raises or bonuses. At least John got a raise.

Okay. With all of that I need some ideas on nice, inexpensive Christmas gifts. I'm talking under $20. Unfortunately we are going to have to mail everything because we don't live near and friends or family so something that is smallish and light would be the best. Anyone have any bright ideas?

My "thing":
*Sometimes I let Olivia fuss and cry for longer than I should because I love to look at the expressions that her face makes. It's so funny. That's terrible, I know.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is my cousin, Jason's, birthday. Happy Birthday J! And Cindy O'Halloran's, so Happy B-day to her.

It's also Olivia's 5 month birthday. And she spent it going to the doctor! Again! Ugh. If it's not one thing, it's another. I got a call from the daycare today saying that she had a rash and was extremely fussy and screamed all morning. Apparently she wouldn't take a bottle which is not like her. They were concerned because Roseola and Fifth's Disease had been going around so they wanted me to have her checked out. Long story short, she just had a cold virus that caused the rash. Once the rash shows up the kid is no longer contagious so she wasn't a threat to the other children. I had noticed some bumps on Monday on her stomach near her diaper but I didn't think anything of it. Wednesday though, when I went to pick her up, they were all over the place - belly, arms, legs, feet, neck. They aren't itchy so they don't bother her, which is a blessing. I think I caught whatever she had because my ear started to ache and I have red bumps on my chest and neck. I swear, if we ever get healthy all at the same time it would be a miracle.

John and I are hoping to get tickets to the Carrie Underwood/Little Big Town concert at Jobing.com Arena tomorrow night. My mom is supposed to be coming in to town to watch Olivia for us but I don't know if she's going to make it. We are working on a back-up plan, but if they don't work out does anyone want to baby-sit?

My "thing":
*One of my biggest pet peeves is static on the radio. I can't handle it. And when you schedule a group luncheon and let everyone know about it and tell them how much it is going to cost but not everyone is attending and they don't tell you so you order too much food and have to pay the extra.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sedona pictures

I wanted to get some pictures of Sedona in here. That place is so pretty. The pictures below are from the Tlaquepaque shopping area. They had great sculptures, flowers and fountains all over the place. I took pictures of a few.These pictures are from a couple of the scenic overlooks that we stopped at. I wish the redness of the rocks really came through, but this is the best I can do. Everyone needs to experience this place for themselves.
My "thing":
*I have a couple of friends that are really into photography and are very talented in that arena. I am not and really wish that I was.

Halloween and Sedona

Olivia enjoyed her first Halloween. She seemed to after we got her into her costume anyway. She wasn't happy when I was putting it on her. She screamed at one point but quickly got over it. She was in her costume for a grand total of about 10 minutes. It was hot here and her costume was pretty thick and heavy to be wearing in 90 degree heat. She was an adorable little bumblebee though. We had a bunch of trick or treaters. One little kid actually tried to come in our door after knocking for about 15 seconds straight. He was so cute. Little Superman. I'm pretty sure it was his first time going door to door because his parents were taking all sorts of pictures. I just know we are going to be the same way when we take Olivia out for the first time. We have a light up Jack-O-Lantern in the house that Olivia just loves. She knocked it off the table it was on but that's pretty typical. One of her favorite games is throwing stuff on the floor to see how many times Mom and Dad will pick it up. On Sunday she was cocking her arm back and actually going through a throwing motion! Left-handed! So we will see. She is already following in her parents footsteps with a strong arm.
On Saturday we took John's mom up to Sedona for lunch. We left around 9ish and drove up to Sedona. We stopped at Tlaquepaque (ta-la-ka-pak-ee), a little shopping center near the "Y" intersection in the center of Sedona. They have great art galleries, shops and restaurants. It's a beautiful area with flowers, fountains and sculptures. I tried to get some good pictures of Olivia and us. We stopped for lunch at the Javelina Cantina and had some pretty decent Mexican food and then it was off for home. We did stop at a couple of scenic spots to take pictures. It is so beautiful up there but the pictures never do it justice. The rocks are so red but you just can't tell through a camera lens.

My "thing":

*I read magazines front to back only. I do not skip around and read them out of order.