Tuesday, November 30, 2010

sweetest dreams

When Callan dozes off into baby dream land, I take full advantage of my free hands and time.  This is when I get to tackle the chores that have been put off all morning because my little man requires my full attention (which can be exhausting).  I'm hoping to catch up on these chores by tomorrow so I can work on a few Christmas projects that I have planned.  

Mornings are when I jump on the chores, after lunch is when I catch a snooze myself.  I feel better taking a nap in the afternoon when I know that I have had a productive morning.  I don't dare wake Callan with hopes of squeezing in just one more chore before he wakes up himself.  Like they say, "let sleeping dogs babies lie." 

Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby?  I think not.  Here are a few shots of our little man zonked out.  Feel free to "awh...".  We know.  He's a cutie.

(These pictures are in sequential order, from time spent in the hospital, to yesterday's nap time.)

Callan at 2 weeks old

Monday, November 29, 2010

mantle envy

I have a case of mantle envy.  I've had it for as long as I can remember.  Whenever and wherever Travis and I finally plant our roots and decide buy a house (affording it is the main issue), a fireplace with a mantle is up there on my list of must-haves.  Of course it's not necessary, but I would love it. To me, there is nothing cozier than a toasty, crackling fire on a chilly winter night with a chunky mantle accessorized with candles, pine cones and evergreen boughs, maybe a strand of Christmas lights and jars of glass ornaments...  Not to mention a place to hang our Christmas stockings.  Sure, I'm daydreaming, but I'm in decorating-for-Christmas mode and I always long for a mantle at this time of year.  

In thumbing through some of the blogs that I check in with regularly, this post at "The Lettered Cottage" caught my eye.  Mantels.  Need I say more?

I'm seriously crushing on each of these seasonal mantle displays, and totally looking forward to the mantle reveal of winter 2010.

All of our Christmas totes are stacked up in the entry way and guest room just waiting for me to break that year-long seal and start pulling out the holiday goods.  The tree was put up yesterday, it just needs to get dressed.  As I'm learning, everything takes just a smidge longer with a newborn.  Hopefully we'll be decked out by the end of the week.  We're also still recovering after having house guests for the past three weeks - so this week I'll also be washing linens and re-organizing the guest room, and catching up on other chores and projects that got pushed aside while we enjoyed the company of family.  In between feedings and diaper changes, of course.

Have you started decorating yet?  Christmas IS just around the corner!

pumpkin surprise

"Pumpkin Surprise" has been my favorite Fall dessert ever since I was introduced to it by my mother-in-law several years ago.  I was never a huge fan of anything pumpkin, but this dessert turned my taste buds around, and now I can't get enough.  We enjoyed it on Thanksgiving this year (and are still enjoying it - love leftovers!) - even my sister (who is not a huge fan of pumpkin) enjoyed a piece.  At least that's what she said.  Perhaps she simply politely cleared her plate?  I like to believe otherwise because it's just that good.  

Anyways, as requested by a friend, here comes the recipe:


one 29 oz can pumpkin
1 c butter, butter
1 1/2 c pecans (3/4 c and 3/4 c)
one box of yellow cake mix
1 c powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
one large cool whip
4 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
two 12 oz can evap. milk


Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with wax paper.  Make pumpkin as directed on the back of the can, pour into lined pan.  Sprinkle yellow cake mix evenly on top, then 3/4 c pecans, then add melted butter.  Bake in the oven until a knife comes out clean (about an hour).  Cool completely, then invert onto a flat surface (such as a cookie sheet) and put in fridge.  While in the fridge, make frosting. 
Frosting: Beat powdered sugar and cream cheese until combined; fold in cool whip.  Spread on top of pumpkin and sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Put back in fridge. When ready to serve, cut into pieces and enjoy!

*Can be made several days in advance.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving Day, 2010.  Our son's first Thanksgiving.  Lots of pictures and wonderful memories with my sister and brother-in-law.  (They flew out to spend the week and holiday with us...and to meet the newest family member.)  The day started a little after 8 am.  (At least that's when I made my way out of our bedroom to the kitchen to start making breakfast.)

The night before, my sister and I prepped as much as we possibly could to make Thanksgiving day as stress-free as possible.  With myself 2+ weeks post c-section, and my sister 22 weeks pregnant, it was bound to be an exhausting day in the kitchen.  So prepping included making the breakfast casserole and taking out the puff pastry for the following morning, chopping up onions and celery for the stuffing, making the pumpkin surprise, green jello & custard, and writing out a rough time schedule for food prep/oven time for the next day.  Come morning, while breakfast was in the oven, we took our first Thanksgiving picture as a family of three, still in our pj's, as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was starting. 

our first Thanksgiving as a family of three

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast together of sausage, egg, bread, and cheese casserole and chocolate-cheese Danishes.  However once that was over with, it was right back into the kitchen to get dishes cleaned up and to get the turkey into the oven.

sausage, egg, bread, and cheese casserole.  so easy.  so tasty.

my favorite chocolate-cheese Danishes

Once we felt like everything was under control in the kitchen and we had some time between the turkey cooking and putting the sides in the oven, it was time to address the table.  The table situation didn't go as I had originally planned.  I wanted to bring in our dining room table and chairs from storage and set them up in the middle of the living room.  This plan had been in my head for well over a month.  Well, come time to set up the table, a certain someone thought that was a bit of a hassle, so I had to settle for sitting around the coffee table.  I was unhappy with this idea at first, but I came around.  After all, the color of the coffee table would bring out the blue in the fabrics to be used on the table.  But that's not the way things ended up panning out either.  Travis knew I really wanted to sit at "normal" height for our Thanksgiving meal, so he took off quite secretly to run to Walmart on Thanksgiving morning.  He returned with a card table and chairs.  His intentions were incredibly sweet, but now I had to address an unattractive, black, plastic and metal collapsible table.  I didn't have a table cloth that would work with the table linens.  I was seriously distraught for about half an hour.  Sad, I know.  But setting the table is my favorite part of any holiday meal, and now this was the second time I'm having to re-think my table setting.  So, after racking my brain for a table solution, I ended up grabbing a throw blanket, tossing it in the wash, and then laying it over the table to serve as our table cloth.  Not ideal, but it worked.  From here I could move on to setting the table.  Given the table was now significantly smaller than I had originally planned (and re-planned), I was forced to downsize the centerpiece.  (As well as serve the meal buffet-style.)  C'est la vie. 

Do you remember the fabric leaf bowls that I made a few weeks back?  I finally get to share how they were used on our Thanksgiving table!  Quite simply, actually.  With the addition of a small pine cone and name card, each guest is invited to sit down and fellowship around the table while enjoying a much anticipated meal.  I love the variety of contrast between the tablecloth, China, leaf bowl and pine cone. 

even Callan got a place card...although he slept throughout the meal in his pack-and-play

While we still had some time before we had to make our way back into the kitchen, we wanted to take a few family photos.  Callan decided this would be a good time to take a nap. 

group shot


me and my boy

After about 3.5 hours in the oven, our bird was ready.  As the bird set for a bit, the sides got tossed in the oven and mashed potatoes were made.  We sat down to dinner just before 4:30 pm.  We enjoyed a quiet, casual meal together as a family.

the finished bird - cooked to perfection

I had already started in on my plate before I remembered to snap a picture

even Callan had a post dinner coma going on

After dinner was over and the kitchen was cleaned up (which took about an hour - love those holiday clean ups!)...and we had some time to rest and digest, it was time for dessert.  Green jello and custard sauce had been a tradition on my Dad's side of the family for years.  It always followed Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents.  My sister and I have loved this tradition since we were little girls, so I thought it was only appropriate to bring it back this year as we celebrated the holiday together with our little families.  I even had green goblets, like Mama used to serve it in.

"green jello" and custard sauce

About an hour later, I whipped out round two of dessert.  "Pumpkin Surprise" is one of our favorite Fall desserts.  My mother-in-law introduced me to this yumminess several years ago, and it has become a staple to our Thanksgiving meal. 

"pumpkin surprise"

Well, that was Thanksgiving 2010 at our place.  Good food, great company, lots to be thankful for.  Callan's first holiday in this world.  A memorable day.  And as my brother-in-law would say, "good times".

Keep 'em comin'. 

Hope your Thanksgiving was equally blessed!

Friday, November 26, 2010

so much to blog about, so little time

Since we've gotten home from the hospital, life has been pretty crazy.  Since November 5th, we've had family staying with us; my mom, Travis' parents, then my dad flew in, and lastly my sister and brother-in-law.  That's three weeks of family coming and going.  We have lots to share, but I've been tied up with family and a new baby, so blogging came to a screeching, temporary halt.  Once life gets back to "normal" (hopefully this afternoon/weekend), I'll be able to jump back on the blog bandwagon and share what's been going on in the Cummings' household. 

So stay tuned, there's a lot coming your way...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

us. at home.

Home.  There's no place like it.  Especially now that we are a happy little family of three.  We love just soaking in the joy that is our beautiful baby boy.  Callan is quite the content little one.  The only time he really voices his opinion is when we change his diaper.  His poor hiney is still healing from a pretty intense looking diaper rash.  He looked like he had a baby baboon tush for about a week - but the rash is finally getting smaller and isn't so irritated.  (We are thankful for Desitin Maximum Strength.)  He eats well, he sleeps well, he certainly poops well. 

Callan trying on dad's hat
my parents with Callan - camera in hand, of course
dad, son, and dog enjoying an evening snooze
I think I need a bigger lap...
so sweet!
ready for an outing
of course we had to document Callan's first trip to Target
reminding Travis that we love him via text message while he's at work - (don't mind the mommy bedhead)
my boys :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

from the hospital

Well, we've been home from the hospital since about 12:30 pm Saturday afternoon.  We now have three whole days of "at home parenting" under our belts.   And guess what?  So far so good!  Callan is the perfect addition to our little family.  We couldn't love him more.  We have lots of pictures to share, but lets start with a few from last week. 

While we were still in the hospital, there wasn't much more to do than to snap a few whole lotta pictures while sitting around waiting for discharge news from the nurses.

Travis being the good dad that he is

my mom holding Callan in the hospital

our view out the hospital window

oh, that lip!

poor little scratched face

so cozy

love this one

snug as a bug

love that little neck

we've been discharged! ready to head home from the hospital

who knew there was so much to unpack after coming home from a 5 1/2 day stay at the hospital - and this is only part of it

So, aside from being in the hospital a few days longer than expected, our stay was actually quite pleasant.  Each and every nurse that we had was incredibly sweet and accommodating.  There were a few pushy ones when it came to breastfeeding, but that is now over and done with.  Moving on.  All that matters is that Callan was well taken care of and came home a healthy baby boy.  We couldn't ask for more. 

The past few days have been quite tiring - as to be expected.  It wasn't until yesterday that I got to take a little nap while Callan dozed off into full tummy, happy baby land.  Speaking of, I'm being summoned.  Off to feed the little love in my life.