Got any grapes?

An ongoing family joke around our house lately is the saying, “Hey, have any grapes?” followed by “Waddle waddle, waddle waddle waddle.” This started when James was looking for videos to go with some of the music Reagan has been enjoying (she seems to like watching video with music). In his quest he stumbled on “The Duck Song.” It’s pretty silly, very catchy, and has definitely invaded our family!

On vacation Reagan not only cut her two bottom teeth and started sitting up in a high chair, she also started really paying attention to anyone who is eating (like REALLY REALLY staring at people while they eat). These new developments coupled with the “Hey, have any grapes?” saying led me to giving Reagan a sample of a grape! Her first taste of “real” food!

I'm in my high chair is it time to eat?

She was sitting in her new high chair and looked like she might want to give it a try, so I grabbed a grape and Daddy got the camera!

Guess I'll see how my tray tastes!

I didn’t give Reagan a full grape, just sliced one open and ran it along her tongue so she could taste it. She wasn’t quite sure what to think about it at first, but pretty soon she started sticking her tongue out at me and grabbing my hand and pulling it toward her mouth!

Trying a grape for the first time!

It was pretty adorable and Reagan definitely seemed to enjoy the taste of grapes!!

I love grapes!

Michigan trip overview

We drove 2,174 miles on our tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This started with us traveling through Indiana and then up to Grand Rapids, Michigan to visit with my cousin Carrie and her family. We then headed to the Upper Peninsula and traveled its entire length from the Mackinac Bridge west along the northern edge up to Copper Harbor. After finishing up in Michigan we drove to Minneapolis, Minnesota for my cousin Mer’s wedding. We finished up our vacation by going south from Minneapolis through Iowa, into Missouri, and then back into Illinois at Quincy and finally home!

Route for our Michigan Trip (arrows do not indicate our exact route)

Reagan did great in the car and we enjoyed taking our time traveling through Michigan. It was the first time for both James and I to spend so much time exploring one state. Normally in 10 days we would have hit 15+ states!

I think what made the vacation especially fun was Reagan. It was great to have her with us and to experience all her firsts with her. A few included first new state (Indiana), first teeth (Michigan), first wedding (Minnesota), and first time rolling from her back to her front (Missouri). I kept a daily log of firsts and compiled them on one page of Reagan’s Firsts to make it easier to go through!

Reagan experiencing her first underground mine outside Copper Harbor, Michigan

I’ve also included the links to the daily blog posts about our trip, as well as a video of our adventures!!

Day 1 – Candy factory and Grand Rapids
Day 2 – Mackinac Bridge and St. Ignace
Day 3 – Mackinac Island
Day 4 – Soo Locks and Canada
Day 5 – Waterfalls
Day 6 – Lakenenland & Copper Harbor
Day 7 – Copper Mine
Day 8 – Minneapolis
Day 9 – Mer’s Wedding
Day 10 – Iowa, Missouri, and then home

Jones Family Trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

High chair

While on vacation we put Reagan in a high chair for the first time. She’d been sitting in her bumbo chair for a while and I’d even started putting her in her bath seat out on the porch and on the floor, but we didn’t even have a high chair for her to try sitting in. After the stunning success of putting her in high chairs while we ate (we actually got to eat our meals hot and when they were served!), we decided we definitely needed to get Reagan one when we got home.

James did the research and found a pretty nice Baby Trend high chair online at Walmart. The reviews were pretty good, the price wasn’t bad, and it seemed to have everything we wanted. The only problem? They didn’t have any of this model at our local Walmart stores. Yet, there were some at the Lincoln Walmart. So what would any good Daddy do? Load up his baby girl for a road trip to Lincoln to get her a high chair!

Hey, lets get this show on the road!

James and Reagan drove to Lincoln, Reagan had her first experience in a regular shopping cart (the Ikea one was quite different), and they picked up her high chair!

When I got home I was excited to check out the high chair and get Reagan into it, so I put it together and added Reagan and a few toys!

Reagan trying out her new high chair!

She seemed to be ok playing in the high chair even without us eating and sat there chewing on her toys while I made dinner and cleaned up the kitchen!

My favorite parts of the high chair so far are the wheels and that the tray is pretty easy to get in and out and adjust!

Chicken Penne

While grocery shopping I ran across McCormick’s new Gourmet line of recipe & seasoning packets. The Creamy Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Penne and the Sweet Basil & Oregano Bruschetta Chicken both looked pretty good so I went ahead and picked up both packets and the ingredients listed on the back of each package.

I decided to try the Chicken Penne because first because it seemed a bit more work than the Bruschetta Chicken, and Reagan was napping so I had the extra time.

Ingredients for the Penne Chicken

Ingredients (makes 8 servings)

  • 1 pkg McCormick Gourmet Creamy Parmesan & Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Penne
  • 2 cups penne pasta (two cups didn’t look like enough for me, so I went ahead and cooked an entire box – more on this later!)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb chicken tenders (I used about 1.5 lbs and just sliced up a a few chicken breasts)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes, undrained (I used regular diced)
  • 1 cup heavy cream OR half-and-half (I used the heavy cream)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used shredded from a bag)

 Directions

  • Cook pasta as directed on package and drain well.  As mentioned above, I cooked up the entire 16oz  box.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken and cook until lightly brown and no longer pink on the inside (time depends on the thickness of the chicken).
  • Add tomatoes, seasoning packet, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Continue stirring until well blended and boiling.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes
  • Stir in pasta and stir gently to coat. This is where I gradually added the cooked pasta until it seemed the right consistency; not too thick with sauce, but not too thin with sauce. From the 16oz box there was less than one cup of cooked pasta left over.

So the real question… how did it taste?

Finished product garnished with a bit of fresh basil from my garden!

I really liked it a lot and consider it a keeper recipe. It seemed slightly similar to some of Applebee’s pasta dishes which I greatly enjoyed while we were on vacation, so that probably didn’t hurt! In the future I’d probably try it with the petite diced tomatoes (instead of the regular diced) and maybe even throw in some lightly cooked spinach to add a little more color and taste. Overall this was a solid meal that was quite tasty and even held its flavor when reheated for my lunch the next day!

The pool is open

While we were away on vacation it was in the upper 90’s at home, so when we got back the pool water was warm enough for us to get in and take our first swim of the year! In addition, Reagan had only dipped her toes in the pool before so this was her first time swimming in our pool and in an outdoor pool!

Before the pool was ready, Reagan and I hung out on the back porch and tried on her new sunglasses and sun hat from the Ferrell’s!

Is it pool time yet?

Once James got the chemicals corrected, we got her new swim suit on (also from the Ferrell’s) and headed over to check out the water!

I'm all ready to go swimming!

The sunglasses and hat were a big hit and Reagan really seemed to enjoy being able to look around and not have to worry about the glare from the sun.

Ready to get in!

I started out by dipping Reagan’s toes in the water along the stairs before I handed her off to James for her first official dunk in the pool!

Love the different expressions!

I knew she was a water baby and loved swimming from our experiences on vacation, but I wasn’t sure how she’d take to the slightly colder water and being outside.  No worries though, she seemed to enjoy the outdoor pool at home just as much as the indoor ones from vacation!

Floating around with Daddy!

We put Reagan in her floaty for the first time and she didn’t seem to enjoy it nearly as much as us holding her. I think it was a combination of the floaty being a little too big and Reagan being ready for a nap, so we’ll try it again later! Luckily we have the whole summer to enjoy the pool! 🙂

Twenty-two weeks

Twenty-Two Weeks!!

This has been a big week for Miss Reagan. Her two front teeth came in, she rolled from her back to her front for the first time, took a 2,000 mile plus vacation, and visited Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri!! She’s been a busy busy girl!

Iowa north to south

Monday morning Reagan and I got up early and sat with my parents while they had breakfast. They were leaving early and we wanted to see them before they left. We then went back to the room and got read and finished packing. Once we were done we headed down to get breakfast. The Olson’s were hosting it and there were a bunch of family and friends there already eating. As soon as we got into the room, Grandma Jones zeroed in on Reagan and grabbed her out of my arms offered to watch her while we ate.

Reagan and Great Grandpa & Grandma Jones!

It was nice seeing everyone for the last time before we left and also gave Reagan a chance to do some more wiggling before going in her car seat! The extra wiggling and seeing everyone must have done the trick because she didn’t even make it out of the parking garage before she passed out! She then proceeded to sleep all the way through Minnesota and we had to wake her up when we crossed into Iowa and stopped at the Welcome Center!

Reagan’s first time in Iowa!

At the top of Iowa and working our way south!

We then continued south-east through Cedar Falls where we stopped for lunch and to let Reagan burn off some energy! The blue blanket we brought with us is a little thicker and more heavy duty than most blankets and worked perfectly in the grass!

Enjoying some wiggle time before getting back in the car!

After Cedar Falls I thought we’d continue in a more easterly direction (towards Illinois), but instead James thought it’d be a great idea to head directly south into Missouri. I wasn’t too sure about it, but it did end up being a fun time.

Shortly after entering Missouri, we stopped at Wakonda State Park. We were just looking for a place to use the restrooms and let Reagan move around, but the park ended up having a lake with free swimming! It definitely ate up some time, but I figured it was worth it to get Reagan into one of her swim diapers and have James dip her in the water a little bit!

Sitting on the beach with Daddy!

Playing in the lake!

Reagan and Mommy

Fun in the sand!

 

Reagan seemed to really enjoy the water (and the sand) and afterwards when we were letting her wiggle around in the grass a little big she decided it would be fun to roll over from her back to her tummy for the first time!! She did it a few times, but as soon as we got the video camera out she stopped! Little stinker!

We finished up at the park, crossed the bridge by Quincy over into Illinois, got something to eat at Dairy Queen, and headed out for the very last leg of our trip! By this point it was close to 8pm and Reagan was sick and tired of being in the car all day (she’d been in the car since about 9:30 that morning) and started to rebel a little bit. Luckily it didn’t last long, but it definitely tore my heart out to hear her so tired and upset.

After 2,174 miles we made it home around 10pm. Reagan woke up as soon as we got there, but I quickly got her out of her carseat, into bed, and back to sleep! We were home and it felt amazing! The trip was fun and we saw a lot of great things, but nothing feels better than sleeping in your own bed!

Reagan’s Firsts

  • Visited Iowa (5/28/12 – Complete north to south!)
  • Swam in a lake (5/28/12 – Wakonda State Park, Missouri)
  • Rolled from her back to her stomach (5/28/12 – Wakonda State Park, Missouri)

Mer & Jon’s wedding

Sunday morning we went down to one of the hotels hospitality room that John & Linda had reserved for the guests of the wedding to hang out for a little bit.

Look at the concentration!

We found one!

There was a good number of family and friends already there and we talked for a little bit before getting breakfast and then coming back to the room to help cut up fruit for the wedding reception. James and Reagan sat down with Rush, Nilah, & Tate and Rush read everyone a book. It was pretty cute and I think everyone had a good time.

Cousins enjoying a good book!

We then tried to relax a little bit before we needed to leave for the church.

Mer and John hadn’t planned on hiring a photographer, so I offered to take pictures (actually I offered for James and I to take pictures) of the wedding and put together an album as a wedding gift.

The amazingly happy couple!

The wedding was very meaningful and the music of Heather Lynn was wonderful. James and I sat up in the balcony during the service so we could take pictures. Mom & Dad sat up there with us so they could watch Reagan for us.

Love how in tune they are with each other!

James getting the perfect shots!

Reagan crashed on the floor during the wedding!

Mom & Dad hanging out on the balcony with us!

Reagan and Mommy!

K Jones family picture

The happy bride and Reagan!

The reception was also held at the church and the food (while unique compared to traditional fare) was amazing! We especially liked the baklava in lieu of wedding cake! It was beyond tasty!

Happily married couple!

Talking after dinner

Reagan playing on Daddy!

It was a beautiful wedding and Jon and Mer couldn’t have been more in love and in tune with each other. We love them both and wish them a long and happy life together!

Reagan Firsts

  • First puzzle (5/27/12 – Minneapolis, MN)
  • First wedding (5/27/12 – Mer Olson & Jon Poppele – Minneapolis, MN)

Five months

Reagan seems to have changed more in the last week than in the last five months! Vacation must agree with our little girl! Here’s what she’s been up to in the last week and the last month:

  • Reagan got her first tooth sometime around May 23rd-24th!! It’s her bottom front left one! I haven’t seen it yet, but we can definitely feel it when she chomps down on our fingers! (UPDATE! Reagan actually got BOTH front bottom teeth! I didn’t realize it until tonight when I finally got a good look in her mouth!)
  • Reagan is much more aware of her surroundings and is paying more attention to everything that’s going on around her!
  • Reagan still loves chewing on her fingers and anything else she can get into her mouth!
  • Reagan’s favorite toys seem to be her giraffe (Sophie) and her tag blanket.
  • Reagan loves people and is quite the little ham. If anyone even looks her way she’ll give them her big cheesy grin! After that everyone is putty in her little hands!
  • Music is still one of her favorite things, but she has branched out to include some different genres including oldies and some hard rock! Yet overall, the ABC’s seem to be the #1 thing to get her to quiet down if she’s a little fussy.
  • Reagan is getting much better at sitting up and can do it on her own for short periods of time before she topples over!
  • Reagan is getting better and better at standing with assistance and seems to enjoy it.
  • Reagan can definitely scoot both on her tummy and her back.  If you lay her down somewhere she won’t stay put for long and will scoot around!
  • Reagan is still an occasional roller. She can roll from her tummy to her back and is close to rolling from her back to her tummy, but she doesn’t seem inclined to do it hardly ever.
  • Reagan still loves water and is a little water baby!! Bath time, showers, and the pool! It doesn’t matter as long as it’s water and she can play in it!
  • Reagan loves to be outside and especially to feel the wind on her face! She’s not a huge fan of the sun because it’s just a little too bright, but with her sun hat on she is good to go and really enjoys it!
  • Reagan seems to be a pretty good traveler. We’ve been all over Michigan this week (including Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota) and overall she’s done much better than I thought she would!
  • Reagan is still exclusively being fed breast milk. We haven’t tried to give her any solids yet, but she is really paying attention to us when we eat so we might try some in the coming month.
  • Once Mommy gets Reagan to sleep at night she will pretty much sleep through to around 6-7am except to dream nurse. This means she sleeps, Daddy sleeps, but mommy doesn’t.
  • To go to sleep at night Reagan has her own little pillow and a favorite blanket. She’d probably sleep without both, but the blanket especially seems to be a favorite to help comfort and settle her in for the night.
  • Reagan is wearing mostly size 6-9 month clothing, but can still fit into the occasional 3-6 month stuff.
  • Not sure how much she weighs or how long she is, but she definitely isn’t shrinking! 🙂
  • Overall Reagan is a happy, smiley and giggly baby who makes Mommy & Daddy smile every day!!