Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Name and a Blessing

Jessica's Blessing was held at our ward here in Sandy, UT, a couple Sundays ago on April, 13, 2014.  It was a beautiful day full of friends and family. A few days before the actual blessing day, I got Jessica all dressed up on did a little photoshoot of her in all her beautifulness. The dress and bonnet were mine that I wore when I was blessed over 26 years ago.

Sadly, we didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked of Jessica with everyone that came (because we did have quite the turnout of friends and family). Church on Sundays is always difficult as our 11 o'clock time sits right during her naptime. She was exhausted and fussy after the Sacrament meeting and so Michael put her down in her crib as soon as we got home, thinking she'd only sleep about 30 minutes. Well, that turned into over an hour (sleepy girl!) and then, of course, she woke up hungry. Many people had to leave by the time she was awake, fed, and ready for pictures. But, that's alright. 

We were still grateful to all who came and shared in the special day and event and especially to all those who helped with bringing food to the luncheon (my mom, Mike's parents, Tina Gillman, Jennifer Black, Janessa Black), those who took notes during the blessing (Natalie Jolley and Jennifer Black), and those who flew in to be here especially for the blessing day and weekend (Michael and Natalie Rougeau).

 So serene and in absolute comfort sleeping in the arms of her Daddy. Note the little pointer finger sticking straight out. She loves to do that with both hands. Not sure why, but it's cute!

 She looks so fetching in the arms of her aunt! (Name that quote).

 I call this Jessica's "creepy stalker eyes".

Michael gave an absolutely beautiful blessing. I knew he would, but I truly didn't expect it to be as specific, sweet, and completely genuine to our darling girl. He most definitely had the Spirit with him as he exercised his priesthood in such a special ordinance. 

Thoughts to remember from the blessing:
Jessica has come to fulfill the plan laid out for us as a family.
Blessed to learn all the Lord would have.
She will have the Spirit of discernment. 
Jessica will know the truth in all things to see through the confusion the adversary will set in place.
Have a healthy body to learn and grow.
Blessed to always have the Spirit of the Lord with her.
Have a keen ear to the soft promptings of the Spirit, for that is how He will communicate with her.
 She will have a strong sense of family.
Blessed to feel the love of her family and Heavenly Father.
Jessica will be blessed to find a worthy spouse and be married in the temple for time and all eternity.
She will become a mother one day.
Blessed to have a sure knowledge that she is a daughter of Heavenly Father with unique traits and abilities.

I teared up again as I wrote these blessings and remembered that day. Jessica has brought such a sweet spirit into our home and lives and I know that she will fulfill these blessings as she strives to be faithful during her life. I only pray that I and her father will be able to truly teach her of her Savior's love and lead by example the best we know how, and through that she will come to know her Savior and purpose on this earth.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Fireplace Mantel Facelift

Ever since having little Jessica outside of my body, I've had a lot more energy to do things around the house that I just didn't feel up to doing in the last trimester. And I'm getting so much done! Most of my projects are things I was staring at while lying around the house and taking it easy through all the Braxton-Hicks. This DIY was one of those.

I've never loved our fireplace surround and mantel, but figured that the taupe-colored paint over the stone was better than whatever color the natural stone used to be in our 1970s home (I'm thinking browns and oranges). Michael and I also think that it's way too big for the room, but until we can tear it down and eventually build a smaller wooden surround and mantel, and also put in a nicer gas insert, I thought a new coat of paint would be a good facelift!

I chose a white paint as I really prefer mantels to be white; it goes with whatever color is on the walls. As we want to eventually paint the walls in this room, the taupe-ish color on the stone would greatly limit what color we could put on the walls. We had some leftover white gloss from painting our baseboards. So, along with that and a leftover brush, I went to work. 

It took me about 3 days of baby Jessica's naptimes, a neckache, and a completely obliterated paintbrush later, and what a wonderful end result! It totally changes the feel of the room, and brightens up the space. I pretty much love it. And the price was right...free. The best kind of DIY project in my opinion!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2 months

Ya, our girl is adorable. This post is a little late, seeing as she's over 10 weeks now, but I did take these pictures right as she turned 2 months old. It is really amazing to see how much she has changed in just the last month, and especially since being a newborn. Jessica is growing so quickly and beautifully! We love her more and more and are so happy to be her parents.

 2-month stats:
11.5 lbs (65%ile)
22.12 inches (35%ile)

 She had her shots and was in a bit of a funk for about 4 days after, poor thing. But she is such a good baby, that her "fussiness" really wasn't all that bad. I can't tell you how grateful we are to have such a sweet little girl in our lives. We snuggled on her and I let her comfort nurse as much as she needed until she felt better!

 Fun little photo. I love her big bright eyes!

Exciting updates:
Jessica coos and "talks" to me and Michael a lot and curls her little lips when she's really trying hard to makes sounds.
She smiles all day long and it melts my heart each time she smiles when she sees me.
She is starting to use her little hands more, grasping things (it's not quite intentional yet).
Her gas has improved so much, yay!
Mommy can't eat onions, peppers, chocolate, eggs (solid), foods with preservatives.
Jessica has started to smile at me while nursing, which causes her mouth full of milk to dribble all over the place. It's so cute, but messy!
She is such a great little sleeper. During this 2nd month, Jessica has transitioned from 3 hour shifts at night, to 6, to 8-9.
Jessica LOVES diaper changing time. I've never seen a baby so happy when her diaper is being changed. She smiles and coos the entire time.
If Michael is in the room when she's feeding, she will unlatch and watch him until he leaves her eyesight, and only then will she start nursing again. She loves him so much!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Bath Time!!!

 Just some fun pictures from different bath times with Jessica.  I covered up all the places that needed to be covered up. But I do love all her little fat rolls on her legs. There is seriously nothing cuter than a naked baby. We love this girl!

 Oh, and she totally looks like a little elf. Which makes me and Michael excited for Christmas, as we totally need to get her an elf outfit for that time of year :) 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Last weekend was Michael's father's 60th birthday party, and it had a dessert theme. All of us kids made different desserts for one yummy spread at the evening party. There were homemade Oreo cookies, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake, German chocolate cake, brownies, other cookies, Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, and some assorted fruit. Needless to say, we were covered in the chocolate area. I figured I would make something fruity and different for the occasion in case people were "chocolate-d out". In came these bars.

I have always wanted to make crumb bars because they are basically cobbler or crumble in a handheld, easy-to-eat form! I was very pleased to find a very simple recipe that yielded great tasting results. Who says yummy things need to be complicated? Everybody must've really liked them because there were only 8 bars left at the end of the party. I'd say that's a success.

Blueberry Crumb Bars
(adapted from smitten kitchen)


For the crust
1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 egg

1/4 tsp. salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries

For the berries
1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 tsp. cornstarch

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a medium bowl or food processor, mix together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Then blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
  3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Makes about 30-36 small rectangles

- This could be easily adapted for whatever time of year and whichever fruit is in season (peaches, cranberries, plums, etc.)
- I'd also replace the lemon with orange for some interesting flavor combos.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

1 Month...Already?

Baby Jessica and I had a little photo shoot in her crib, to mark her turning 1 month! This was the perfect opportunity to pull out my nice camera and the new and amazing Nifty 50 mm lens Michael bought for me. I'm loving this lens. It is so responsive and takes amazing quality pictures. Much better than the other lenses which came with the camera. What a perfect little subject on which to practice my photography skills !

A little full body perspective to show how small she is. I want to remember this as I compare month to month.

There's almost a little smile on her sweet sleeping face. Her cute hand up by it, just like mommy!

I LOVE this picture. It think it's my favorite one of her right now. So serene. And it shows off her awesome hair in a fauxhawk!

Captured a smile! Albeit, a milky one. 

 There's my little bird.

This could totally be one of those pictures that becomes viral as a meme with various phrases attached to it (please...nobody do that, I wasn't meaning to give people any ideas). I just think it's cute. One eye half open, fist clenched almost like she's pumping it.

Exciting updates:
Jessica graduated from newborn to size 1 diapers.
She is spending much more time awake now.
Still a champion eater, thus she is growing like a weed.
Jessica loves bath time and calms right down in the warm water.
She has peed, pooped, vomited, and spit up all over her mommy.
Getting some really nice fat rolls on her legs and arms...and a double chin!
Jessica is gassy. Poor thing. Mommy is still trying to figure out which part of her diet is causing it.
She has a death grip and will seriously not let go of things once she grabs them. 
Daddy is her favorite to snuggle in the mornings (especially on Saturdays).
Tummy time is exhausting, but generally fun. Jessica has a VERY strong neck already and is always looking around.

Mommy is a little heartbroken that she's growing so fast, but we love our girl and are excited to see her maturing. We can't wait for what each day and month brings!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Few Firsts

 Baby Jessica has had quite a few "firsts" since being born and home with us. I thought I'd devote a little post to some of those.

 First Bath! I posted this photo on facebook because the fauxhawk and all her awesome hair is so much fun after each bath. Michael always brushes it into this hairstyle. I can't wait until her hair gets a bit longer and I can start clipping bows and tying ponytails in it!

Computer time with daddy. He brought her in to "help" him with putting some new memory into our desktop computer. Michael posted a really cute dialogue of this sequence on his facebook page. It's seriously adorable! I can't believe she was this small, as she's already grown so much since then.

And her very first Valentine's Day. I love this little outfit I bought at Savers for $1.50 before she was born. I knew she was going to be in newborn size clothes for this holiday, so I couldn't help myself. Her little "shoes" and ruffle booty are my favorite! What a sweet little girl.