Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - A Look Back

2010 was an unforgettable year....

  • Still on a high from our awesome trip to Hawaii in December 2009.
  • Had one of the coldest and longest Winters in Alabama we've had in a long time. I thought it would never end.
  • Alabama won their 13th National Championship after defeating Texas.
  • Joseph and I continued running our insurance agency...without killing each other! ;)
  • We decided to start trying for a baby.
  • Got a positive pregnancy test on a Wednesday in July. (Something we've never told anyone)
  • Two days later, I took another was negative. Could have been a chemical pregnancy, or a false positive. We'll never know.
  • In August, we went to Baltimore for a little business conference. I didn't feel right.
  • I took a pregnancy test a few days after we got home. It was positive.
  • It stayed positive! We were expecting our first child!
  • After a spotting scare, we had an ultrasound on Sep. 3 to confirm our baby was growing wonderfully.
  • Alabama kicked off their 2010 football season. We were able to go to a few games.
  • Announced the special news to our family.
  • Cleaned out office to become baby's room.
  • Found out we were having a baby boy.
  • Decided to name him Hudson Thomas. (Thomas is after Joseph's dad and my grandfather)
  • Announced the gender to family at our big joint Thanksgiving.
  • Got baby furniture in his room.
  • Realized we actually have baby furniture in our house!
  • Got a new awesome camera to capture precious memories with.
  • Celebrated our last Thanksgiving and Christmas as just the two of us.
  • Celebrated 4 years of marital bliss! (once again, alone, for the last time)
  • Were reminded how continually blessed we are to have the wonderful friends and family we have in our lives, and how blessed Hudson will be to have them as well.
  • So excited about what 2011 has in store.
As you can see, most of our year revolved around our expected arrival. I say 2010 was an unforgettable year....not because we had a lot of big trips or events, won the lottery, bought a house, or anything like that. It was an unforgettable year because our dream of starting a family came true, and to us, that's the most amazing thing that could have happened to us this year. And honestly, it trumps pretty much anything else. :-)

Here is a look back at 2010 in a few pictures.

I can't wait to see all that 2011 has in store for our family. It will bring a lot of firsts, and a lot of joy. Of course I don't know everything 2011 has in store, but I do know that I have an amazing husband, wonderful friends and family, and a precious baby boy on the way....and that's enough for me. I'm sure there will be some hard times, but I can't help but feel so incredibly blessed going into the New Year. And the best is yet to come......

I pray that 2011 blesses you beyond measure, and you make wonderful new memories to look back on for years to come.

Happy New Year....and Roll Tide!!! (Bama plays Michigan State tomorrow so I had to throw that in there too!) ;-)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Someone Is Ready To Meet His Little Brother.....

Bryant is usually always with me. His sister, Marley, is a lot more independent and mostly spends her time sleeping on her bed in our bedroom. Bryant, on the other hand, is always wherever I am. If I'm on the couch, he's laying on the floor in front of me. If I'm in the kitchen, he's right there helping me cook. You get the idea! He's a mama's boy! ;)

Well, tonight I was missing my shadow and went looking for him. I caught him taking a nap in his little brother's room. I think he is anxiously awaiting his arrival! He's done this one or two times before, but tonight he kept going back in there time after time. It's really sweet.

I snapped this picture of him after he saw me and he was getting up and walking out. He realized he was caught! HA!
"Uh, Mom, I was just testing out his room for him....."

"Mom, I'm sorry I came into Hudson's room without permission."

"Really? I'm not in trouble? You say I can snooze in here as long as I don't start snoozing IN Hudson's crib? SWEET!!"

I do think I will have to start closing the door to Hudson's room a little more. I don't mind him going in there every now and then when I'm in there, but I don't want it to become a habit. It is just the sweetest thing to me, though, to see him laying down right beside his little brother's crib. He knows someone special will be in it soon. I think he'll be a great big brother! :-)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Potatoes Au Gratin...Scalloped Potatoes...Either Way, They Taste Good!

For Christmas dinner, I made a side dish of scalloped potatoes....or potatoes au gratin....whatever, it was some kind of cheesy potato dish. I was determined to figure out what type of dish this actually is, so I did what any other normal person does.....I googled it! Turns out that scalloped potatoes are typically a cream based dish, while potatoes au gratin are typically baked with cheese. Well, there you have it! I made potatoes au gratin!! The million dollar question has been answered. HA! Anyway, here's how I made the "Potatoes Au Gratin." This recipe makes about 12 servings, so you could half it if you need less.

8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream(I think I ended up using a tad bit more to make it creamier)
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese on top

In a large pot, cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain. Mix together (1 cup) cheese, sour cream, milk, butter, salt & pepper.

Mix into potatoes. Transfer to a greased baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

This would be good with chopped bacon or ham if you wanted to make it a little more decadent....and it would add a little color, as would chives! :-) I added a little more cheese in the potatoes, as well as on top of the potatoes..mostly per my husband's request. It turned out really good and cheesy!
This dish was super easy to make and tasted pretty good too. I will definitely be making it again!!

I hope everyone is having a good week. We're excited about New Years weekend! Usually we sit at home, but this year we are going up to Nashville to see our good friends Chad & Erica, and their sweet little girl Addison. They are expecting their second child in July and I'm so excited for them! We haven't seen them in a really long time and I can't wait to catch up. We always have a great time together.
What are your plans for New Years?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Potato Soup

I mentioned a few days ago that I'd post the recipe for the potato soup that I made for my grandparents. Now, this potato soup is just your good, old-fashioned potato bacon, no cheese, nothing. This is how my grandmother taught me to make potato soup. I usually don't use a recipe, but I referenced to one just to better judge measurements of ingredients, since I was making it for someone besides myself. I wanted it to be perfect! Well, I'm sure it's far from perfect, but ya know what I mean! :-)

Here's kind of how it went:

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion (I omitted this when I made a small batch for Joseph and me....he doesn't eat onions, so I added 3 or 4 shakes of some onion powder for the flavor)
1-2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 cups cubed potatoes
1 can chicken broth
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Approx. 2 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Approx. 1-2 Tbsp. chives

In large pot, saute celery and onions in oil for 2-3 minutes, until almost tender. Add potatoes, broth, water, butter, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until potatoes are fork-tender. In small bowl, combine flour with 1/2 cup milk. Whisk until smooth. Add to soup mixture. Add remaining milk and chives. Let the soup continue to cook on medium-low for approx. 20 minutes. It tastes better the longer it cooks. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference. This soup is great with oyster crackers!

This was from the batch I made for Joseph and me. It's a little soupy...I skimped on the potatoes!
Enjoy!! :-)

23 Weeks

I added a couple of new questions to the survey.

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 23 Weeks
Size of baby: Around 10.5 inches long(head to toes), the size of a papaya. Weighs about 1.5 lbs!
Total Weight Gain: As of my appointment on Tuesday, I have gained 16 lbs! Yikes!! That seems like so much, yet I don't really see it going anywhere except my belly. I'd like to keep my weight gain at 30-35 lbs. We'll see if I can do it!!
Maternity Clothes: Pants! Most shirts and dresses are fine, but some are getting a little tight and short.
Stretch Marks: None yet, thankfully! Hopefully it will stay that way since my mom didn't get any. My mom gave me some lotion that I'll be slathering on just as a precaution though. ;)
Belly button in or out: Still in, but it's getting more shallow.
Gender: BOY! Hudson Thomas Puckett :)
Movement: I feel him on a daily basis now and love it. He's usually the most active mid-morning and in the evening. Lately he's been waiting to be active when I'm laying down for bed! HA! I've been able to lay there and see my belly move when he kicks. It's wild!
Food Cravings/Aversions: I haven't been craving anything new, or really anything at all for that matter. I just like food! :-)
What I miss: Sleeping on my back.
Sleep: Sleep has been pretty good...just not enough of it! HA!
Symptoms: Tiredness, backaches, and headaches.
Best Moment this week: Spending Christmas with our wonderful families! We had Christmas Eve with my family, and then we hosted Christmas with Joseph's family at our house. Everything was great...the food, the gifts, but more importantly, the company!!

Only 4 more days in 2010! Where has the time gone? This year flew way too fast. Make the best of your last few days in this year!! ;-)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a great Christmas weekend with our wonderful family! I hope you guys did too!! Christmas Eve was spent in Gadsden with my parents, grandparents, Aunt Lisa, and her husband Frank. I hadn't seen my Nana & Papa, and Lisa & Frank in a while so it was good to see them. We do Christmas a little more casual than Thanksgiving. We had chicken salad, fruit, veggies, various fixins' to build your own sandwich, deviled eggs, shrimp, and more. It was delicious and a nice break from the heavy, rich foods you see during the holidays.

I took a lot of pictures (per my mom's request and because I enjoy it) of their house. It was decorated always! Here are just a few of the pictures I took:

Saturday, we hosted Christmas at our house for the first time. Joseph's parents, Sister and brother-in-law, Aunt, Uncle, cousins, and brother and his girlfriend came over. I cooked a standing rib roast for the first time ever. It was a little intimidating, but turned out to be really easy, and pretty good too. I will post the recipe in the next couple of days. I also made some cheesy scalloped potatoes (I guess they could be interpreted as potatoes au gratin too) and they were pretty good..and really easy (I'll post that recipe too), green beans, rolls, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus that served as an appetizer along with spinach dip and pita chips, and a veggie tray. We had salad too, and Joseph's mother brought dressing, ham, and sweet potato casserole. Dessert consisted of a few different pies, some fudge, cookies, and the Snuggle pretzel treats. Needless to say, we had tons of food, but we also had a great time catching up. We are so glad we got to host this year and take the load off of other people. I was absolutely exhausted afterward, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It's amazing how quickly I get tired and how sore my body gets. I was aching last night and this morning. Guess that's just part of it! ;)
Here are a few pictures from Christmas last night:

It was a great, family-filled weekend and we were given way too many gifts (well...Hudson was given way too many gifts! HA). I am really excited about the diaper bag my parents got me. I mentioned I liked it and they ordered it! It was filled with little necessities that will need to be carried in it.
It's a Timi & Leslie and has lots of great compartments and accessories..and the best thing!?!?! It doesn't look like a diaper bag! I do not like diaper bags! This can double as a purse for my keys, phone, and wallet!

They also got me a cute camera strap I wanted on Etsy. I love how it has a little more personality than the standard black one that comes with the camera, but it's still neutral.

Hudson really racked up on some awesome clothes, accessories, and necessities! Here are just a few of the outfits he got. There are many more! He also got some adorable shoes, socks, gowns, hangers for his closet (which he needs!!) and a stuffed animal or two.

Here's one of them....from his Aunt Lissa!! ;-)

There are a lot more pictures from Christmas on Facebook, so if you're my friend, feel free to go look at them!

Joseph and I didn't mind one bit that most of the gifts were for Hudson! That's the way we want it and that's the way it should be. We're at the age and the stage in our lives where we're over gifts for ourselves, but of course we always appreciate them. We realize life will soon (if it doesn't already) revolve around our little boy! That's fine by us!! :-) Both of our families are very thoughtful to think to get some wonderful things we'll need in just a few short months, and down the road. His Grandmother-to-be, Priscilla (AKA: My mother-in-law) got him a big set of kids' educational DVDs that we can use with him we when start teaching him to read. They are incredible, and will be invaluable!

We are so thankful to have such wonderful people in our lives. We wish every weekend could be like this, fun, laughs, food, and quality time together! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend spending time with your loved ones. I'll post some recipes in the next few days! :-) Have a great week! We only have a few more days in 2010!!! Hard to believe! The countdown really begins come Saturday! AHH!! ;)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I have been busily preparing for Christmas today! We do Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Joseph's family. It works out very well. Usually we drive to Gadsden and back on Christmas Eve, then go back to Gadsden the next day and come back that evening. We don't stay the night because we have two dogs and we don't want to board them or leave them outside all night, and we also can't bring them with us. This year, we're doing Christmas Day at OUR house! It's our first time to host Christmas! We're's a little intimidating, but it's not like we haven't hosted family gatherings at our house before. But Christmas is BIG! I'm thankful that everyone is able to come to us and I know we'll have a great time together. I love to host and entertain so I'm really excited! So, today I made tons of "Snuggles"...the pretzel treats I talked about in my last post, and started getting the house all set up and ready for Saturday.

I also did a "test-run" of the potato soup I'm making for my grandparents. They are basically shut-ins and really love good, home-cooked meals. My parents take them meals a lot and they love potato soup but haven't had it in a while, so I'm making them a big bowl of it, along with some oyster crackers. YUM! It's funny how a soup can bring back so many memories, but this one sure does. My grandmother is the reason I know how to make potato soup. I would make it with her all the time growing up. As I was making it today, I couldn't help but think about all of those memories I made with her in the kitchen. I learned everything I know about cooking from my grandmothers and my mom. The reason these memories are so special to me now is because my grandmother has Alzheimer's and it is advancing very quickly. She hasn't called anyone by name in at least 2 years, maybe more. Her condition is very bad and my grandfather, who can barely see and has health problems of his own, takes care of her the best he can. It won't be long before they have to move somewhere, but until then, he is determined to do the best job he can. It's heartbreaking to see her go through this disease, but I hold on to the memories I made with her throughout the years the best I can.

I'm going to make their batch of soup tomorrow morning, now that I know the flavor turned out right. ;-) Saturday we're having a spread of delicious food. I'm cooking a standing rib roast (for the first time! Eeek!). We're also going to have ham, and I'm making scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad, and some other fixins' (that's Southern talk for sides!!). I'll do a post dedicated to the Christmas dinner at our house, and I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures and recipes to share too! ;) I'm excited to really use my new camera for the first time (on things other than my dogs and things around the house!).

I hope you and yours have a wonderfully Merry Christmas and I can't wait to read about your different traditions/plans!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Lil' Something For Your Sweet (And Salty) Tooth!

I love sweet and salty things together! (Joseph and I may have stopped at Wendy's to get a Frosty and some fries to dip in it last night on the way home! I should say this was totally Joseph's idea...seriously!) Not a big fan of their new fries BTW! I got this recipe from my friend Catherine. I'm sure these things have been around for a while, but I've never seen them done this way. She calls them "Snuggles", which seems like a good name to me! What is a Snuggle you ask?


They are sweet and salty deliciousness, that's what they are!
More specifically, they are pretzels topped with a Hershey's Kiss or Hug, topped with an M&M! Yessir....sweet and salty deliciousness!

Here's what you do:
Get some pretzel twists, circles, squares, whatever(I got the regular size but probably should have gotten the mini twists)...and line them on a cookie sheet. Place the Kisses or Hugs on top of the pretzels and bake for 2-3 minutes at around 300 degrees..until the chocolate is softened and slowly starting to melt. Take them out of the oven and push an M&M down on top of the chocolate. Pop them in the fridge to cool....ENJOY!! They are so tasty, simple, and will satisfy that sweet (or salty) tooth that you have!

Thanks for the recipe Catherine!! :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

22 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 22 Weeks!!
Size of baby: Around 10.5 inches, the size of a papaya. Weighs about 1.2 lbs!
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Probably around the 10 lb range, I'll find out tomorrow at my appointment. :/
Maternity Clothes: Pants! Most shirts and dresses are fine, but some are getting a little tight and short.
Gender: BOY! Hudson Thomas Puckett :)
Movement: I feel him on a daily basis now, some days more than others. Joseph thinks he felt him when I was laying down the other night, and I'm pretty sure he did, because I felt a kick at the same time he did. He's waiting for that real big powerful kick to blow him away! ;-)
Food Cravings/Aversions: Well, "the appetite" has arrived, as I said last night. I'm hungry pretty much all day, every day. I do still get full quicker, but am hungry again in no time! I keep snacks with me at work and when I'm on the go a lot too. My aversion to meat has gotten better, and I can eat it almost any time now.
What I miss: Sleeping on my hips get sore after a while. A turkey sandwich!
Sleep: Sleep has been pretty good...just not enough of it! HA!
Symptoms: Tiredness, backaches, headaches, and some cravings.
Best Moment this week: Besides feeling Hudson moving, we got his furniture delivered and set up on Friday! It's so exciting to walk in there and see baby furniture!! Now I cannot wait to get it decorated with bedding, accessories...and baby Hudson!!!

I can't believe it's the week of Christmas! I LOVE this time of year so much! Enjoy the time you have off with family and friends, and remember the reason for the season!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"The Appetite" Has Arrived......

So far, I've avoided the "truck driver" appetite they say you get at some point in your second trimester. (I just realized today that I have only like 5 more weeks in the second trimester BTW!!)
Well....I believe "The Appetite" has set in. It didn't really hit me until just a little while ago, when I found myself about to scrounge around for my second dinner of the evening! HA! I stopped and thought, "Whoa, Nellie...back away from the fridge!" Granted, I need to eat when I'm's not healthy to let myself go hungry in my condition! BUT, I've got to remember to be wise about what I DO eat.

Looking back over the last few days, I see where I have been more hungry than usual, needing to take more snacks to work, etc. Friday I stayed home for the furniture delivery and ate a small breakfast, a small early lunch, small late lunch, and several snacks throughout the day. I made sure they were healthy options, though, but I am human...I do give in to that sweet tooth (or salty tooth in my case lately!) every now and then. I've been trying to eat a lot of fruits, cheeses, wheat crackers, granola bars....healthy things like that. Luckily, I like those things, so that makes it a little easier. I did enjoy a few chicken fajitas from Habaneros for dinner though! YUM! The last time I tried to eat some my body decided it did not want them, and that was a long time ago so they were more delicious than usual this time! ;)

Anyway...what's the point of this post? There is none really. I just felt the need to blog..I try to do so at least every other day....and to let you know that I've been hit with the "hearty appetite" I've read about for weeks and weeks now. So, if you see me scarfing down 2 orders of Big Macs and fries in one sitting...PLEASE take them away from me and hand me some carrot sticks and a salad instead! HA!

I hope y'all have had a great weekend!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hudson's Room...In Progress

The furniture for Hudson's room was delivered and set-up today! They were almost 5 hours late delivering it, but that's neither here nor there. :-) We are so pleased with how it looks so far. I know we are way ahead of the game, but that's the way we like to be around here. We're both big planners so we want to be done with as much as possible, as soon as possible.

Here's what his room looks like thus far.....
The first thing you see is (not Bryant) the crib. I plan on hanging letters that spell "Hudson" on the wall above the crib that are covered in fabrics that coordinate with the bedding. I talked about this a few posts ago. ;) Speaking of bedding, we're going to meet with the lady in a couple of weeks to pick out everything and she'll have it ready around mid-February! I can't wait to see how it all comes together.
Here's a closer look at the crib. We love the color of the furniture and how it looks for a boy.

We got a 5 drawer dresser for extra storage. We'll probably get a small TV to put on top and a lamp or something. I'm all about accessorizing! Hudson will also get good use out of it as he gets older. The mattress was too heavy for me to lift myself, so Joseph put it in the crib when he got home. ;)

Bryant's a camera hog. ;-) I really wanted something I could display cute decorative accessories and some books on. I love this hutch/dresser combo. It has a lot of storage and looks so good. We'll use it as a changing table too, so all of the drawers are great for storing the necessities. I felt the need to take out a bunch of the things people have given us so far to see it with things on it and get the full vision. :) We'll put a chair along the wall to the right of the hutch combo...between it and the crib.

Here's a closeup of some of the special items people have given us. They include Joseph's childhood bible and hand and footprint at 17 months, sweet baby booties for Hudson, a great picture frame with a place for a picture every few months leading up to one year old, a silver spoon, rattle, and cup, a sweet picture frame with his latest ultrasound photo, a rubber ducky, a few of what will be Hudson's favorite outfits, and several stuffed animals! He's starting a nice collection. ;) The sock monkey is Bryant's favorite! HA!

It's so weird to see what was a completely empty room just a few hours ago become a nursery in progress, filled with baby furniture! WHOA! Once again, I have to thank our parents for this amazing gift! We are so grateful and can never thank them enough!

I can't believe that Christmas is a week away! I tell myself every year that I won't put my shopping off, but lo and behold...I always do! We still have a lot of shopping to get done and not a lot of time to do it! It's weird...I'm a huge planner and hate to procrastinate, yet I wait until almost the last minute to finish my Christmas shopping...doesn't really make a lot of sense, does it? Yeah, didn't think so....

I hope y'all have a great weekend, and if you're lucky enough to have some time off for Christmas, I hope it's wonderful! :-)