April 29, 2010

Hamilton and Dawsey

Hamilton has enjoyed watching Dawsey, who's three years old, and I think Dawsey has enjoyed playing with Hamilton. This afternoon Dawsey asked me if Hamilton could go to the mailbox with him in the stroller. Then Grandma Judy and the little boys walked down the driveway to the mailbox.

Florence Verlinda Ellington Marbury, R.I.P

Mr. Morgan's grandmother passed away Tuesday afternoon with sweet, constant Judy by her side. Judy had been taking care of Grandmother for over a month in Judy and Joe's home, ensuring Grandmother's last days and weeks were comfortable and peaceful. Mr. Morgan, Hamilton, and I flew yesterday to Tennessee to be with the family and attend the funeral.

Grandmother was known also as "Uga" to some because her husband used to call her "Sugar," which he eventually morphed into "Uga." Mr. Morgan continued the "Uga" tradition, so now Claire refers to her by that pet name as well.
She was a gentle soul who laughed and laughed at Mr. Morgan's jokes, especially his good-natured imitations of her late husband Dosy. Though he died back in 2004, his family adored him and still tells stories about him.
She's survived by two devoted children, David and Judy; five grandchildren, all boys; and five great-grandchildren. She's pictured here in 2006 with great-grandson Dawsey, Mr. Morgan's nephew.Claire and Mr. Morgan visited Grandmother back in February of this year when she first got really sick, and Claire colored this picture for her. Judy kept the artwork in Grandmother's room.Grandmother and Claire are pictured here in 2004 at Joe and Judy's old house in Batesville, Miss.Grandmother and Claire are pictured here in 2003 at Grandmother's old house in Brownsville, Tenn.


Claire's championship soccer game was Tuesday night. It was an early game, thank goodness, so we went to cheer on Claire and her team. Claire (on the far right) gets ready for the game to start.Hamilton helped cheer on the team too, though when he was confused about exactly which team we'd be cheering on. He loved my cheering, and always laughed when I clapped and yelled for the girls.
Claire's team won the game by a score of 1-0! The other team was really good and had beaten Claire's team twice during the regular season. So it was an exciting win! Claire, as seen pointing below, was just as excited about a duck that attended the game. Her words directly following her's team win: "Hey Gray, can you believe we won the CHAMPionship!?! Did you see that Megan's sister brought a baby duck?"Oh, and she was excited about the Oreo Cakesters the girls got for after-game snacks.
Claire was also excited about getting a trophy, though she seems to be eyeing the bigger team trophy in this picture. She declared, "I'm so glad I have somewhere to put a trophy now." I'm not sure what she meant, but the trophy most likely will occupy a place of honor in her room.Here are the Chick-fil-A Pink Panthers--notice the pink socks--with the coach and the parents. They performed their Pink-Panther chant as a final cheer of the season: "Duh duhnt, duh duhnt, duh duhnt, duh duhnt, duh duhnt, duh duhnt, duh DUHNT, PINK PANTHERS!" Claire loved the chant, though I'm sure she had no idea that her coach did not make it up.

April 28, 2010

Three Cool Sites

I know such talented people, so I wanted to share their handmade crafts.

Check out Classy Confections for delicious and delightfully unexpected cakes and other confections.

Visit Leven Ink for custom calligraphy and cool signage.

Explore FrogStudio on Etsy to find fabulous, fabric creations that make great gifts.

Trimmed Hair

Hamilton's hair had been getting a bit ridiculous. His baby hair, with which he was born, had not fallen out as we'd suspected it would, so it's been getting so long--especially on top and around his ears. To prevent any mullet jokes or insinuations, I decided to trim it while Mom was visiting and I had help holding him still. Here are two before pictures:
Three after pictures show off his trim and his affinity for the comb.

April 22, 2010


Hamilton is easily amused with Uncle Travis's antics.

April 21, 2010


Monday night I called Claire for dinner, and she washed her hands in the bathroom. Clearly she'd been pondering something while in the bathroom. On her way to the table, she asked seriously, "Gray, you know those GEICO commercials? Do you think they use the same stack of money for each one?"

April 20, 2010

Mountville Weekend

We traveled to the farm this past weekend for a wedding in Mountville. Saturday afternoon Deb put the boys to work putting up the tin roof on the garden shed.
We had a delicious Sunday lunch after church.
Hamilton enjoys eating in Mimi's vintage highchair.
After lunch, Travis played with Hamilton outside.
Grandma joined in the fun, too.
Pops and Hamilton relax on the front porch.

Meal Plan 2

My last meal plan actually lasted a few days longer than expected, with our eating out before Claire's soccer game and our traveling to Mountville for the weekend; so last night I finally made the next one.

Tuesday - Creamy ravioli and pesto gratin
With Claire's soccer game's not starting until 7:30 tonight, the coach asked all the parents to feed pasta and sugar to the girls at dinner. I'm sure Claire will have no complaints.

Wednesday - Poppy seed cole slaw
Our community group meets for dinner and Bible study, so I only have to provide a side for dinner. I'm contributing cole slaw to accompany the pulled-pork sandwiches. I use bagged slaw and this delicious poppy seed dressing. I'll mix in a chopped red onion, some feta cheese, and a little apple-cider vinegar if needed.

Thursday - Paprika spiced pork chops with spinach saute
I pick up our CSA produce in the afternoon, so I'll have some delicious fresh veggies to prepare with the chops.

Friday - Bacon Pimiento Cheeseburgers
I'm hoping the weather cooperates, allowing us to grill on Friday night and enjoy our dinner on the patio. I'll make "fat fries" to serve with the burgers, just like Deb used to make. After washing baking potatoes, rub butter on the skins and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake the potatoes until almost done. Carefully slice the hot potatoes into quarters. Rub butter on both non-skin sides of each wedge, then sprinkle with Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Broil the wedges again for 5-10 minutes.

Saturday - Barbecued pork quesadillas
Last week I didn't use all the pork I made, so I froze the leftovers. The thawed pork should make these quesadillas quick to make, which I always appreciate in a weekend meal.

Sunday - Tacos with spinach, corn, and goat cheese
The recipe calls for tofu; however, I've never prepared tofu. Mr. Morgan would rather have meat anyway, so I'll be substituting ground turkey. This recipe is for folks who don't like chopping; Real Simple calls it a no-knife recipe.

Sunday - Tuna salad with lemon aioli
Since Sundays usually require two meals, I like to make quick-prep dishes with lighter fare.

Monday - Chicken and sweet potatoes with shallots
I'll pair another CSA veggie with this dish.

Tuesday - Linguine with asparagus and pine nuts
I've never eaten or cooked pine nuts before, so I figured it's high time. I'm also hopeful we'll get some fresh asparagus from the CSA like we did last week.

April 17, 2010

He's Back

This past week has been the hardest by far with Hamilton--even harder than those first few days when breastfeeding sucked and my parenting skills were timid at best. Two weeks ago he showed symptoms of being sick (vomiting, diarrhea), but he wasn't fussy. I took him to the doctor on Saturday, and he tested negative for the flu and had no fever. The doctor had me switch to Pedialyte for a few days, since milk products can upset little, sick tummies. He improved almost immediately, and Sunday we even took him to the Family Circle Cup. (Pedialyte is even more expensive than formula, if you can believe it.)

I tried going back to formula the next morning with poor results. He was fussy and not normal, and I went back to Pedialyte. I was at my wits' end by Thursday, for NOTHING had been suiting him for four days. He was whining and crying at the least provocation and sometimes at no apparent provocation. I was beginning to think that my sweet angel had turned into a demon spawn.

I took him to the doctor this past Thursday to discuss my proposal that perhaps he was lactose intolerant. His sick symptoms had ceased, but he was still super fussy. I also wasn't sure how long I could continue to feed him Pedialyte instead of formula. The doctor thought lactose intolerance was plausible; I had switched to lactose-free formula on Thursday for lunch, and he didn't vomit or fuss.

Yesterday morning he woke up, and I was hopeful (as I had also been for the previous three mornings) that we'd have a better day. I was hopeful that he'd be sweet-and-agreeable Hamilton. Finally, he was! Back to his old ways of smiling, laughing, and talking when I went to get him up. He heartily drank his new lactose-free formula, and he was gobbling up his solid foods too. He patiently and contentedly played on the floor of my bedroom while I got dressed and cleaned up. My beloved child has returned!

Now the trick will be to reintroduce regular formula again in a few weeks to determine if he is lactose intolerant or if the formula change just coincided with his getting better for other undetermined reasons. As I'm learning to say with parenting, "we'll see."

April 13, 2010

Shopping with Claire

Last Friday Claire and I (and Hamilton) spent the afternoon out running errands. After we had lunch at Chick-fil-A, we eventually ended up at Ross to find Claire some spring and summer clothes. We had fun picking out clothes and gabbing like girls. I'm always surprised at what she likes and what she doesn't like.

While in the dressing room, I handed her a blue-and-black-plaid dress to try on; a pink plaid shirt also hung on the hook. Claire said with an air of seriousness and teenage attitude, "I am not one of those people who doesn't like plaid. I love plaid!"

April 12, 2010

Back to Normal

Yesterday morning I finally finished reading The Twilight Saga. Yes, I succumbed to the hype, got sucked in, and loved every vampire-versus-werewolf minute of it. I say "finally" because while the books barely took me four weeks to read, I was so engrossed and entranced during much of the day and night. So, "finally" I'm finished, and I can move on with my life.

April 9, 2010

Claire's Cookies

Thursday morning Claire and Mr. Morgan went fishing, extending the family fun from Wednesday. That afternoon she made sugar cookies with the cookie cutters and colored sprinkles she got in her Easter basket. She was so proud of her cookies!


Because Claire was with us for all of her spring break, Mr. Morgan took Wednesday and Thursday off from work. We planned some family events to make the special days memorable and fun. Our first, official family-fun-day started with lunch downtown at East Bay Deli. Mr. Morgan put aside his previously sworn boycott, since the deli was on our way to the Aquarium, our next destination. His aversion to walking for pleasure downtown overruled his grudge against the one-time-unfriendly-after-closing-time staff. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed our lunch outside on the sidewalk.The Aquarium has huge tanks where Claire enjoyed watching the fish, eels, and other marine life.
Hamilton also enjoyed watching the fish, though he hasn't learned yet to look when and where you're pointing.Outside the Aquarium is a great view of the Ravenel Bridge and the water. Mr. Morgan tolerated my taking pictures of Hamilton and him, but I think they're making similar questioning faces.
I thought this frog sculpture was awesome--Claire not so much.Outside the Aquarium we bought overpriced Italian ice, much to Claire's delight. Then we headed toward a fun-looking park we'd spied on the walk to the Aquarium. Hamilton enjoyed the swings, though he didn't really fit in the base.Mr. Morgan helped Hamilton slide, but he'll most likely enjoy sliding more when he's not in daddy's grips. What could be more fantastic than ending our family-fun-day at a park with a playground!?

April 8, 2010

Meal Plan 1

Today I made our meal plan for the next week, and I'm hoping to continue to post our meal plans each week. I often get asked what I'm cooking, and I enjoy hearing what others are cooking. I have not cooked any of these meals before, so I cannot vouch for them. If you're looking for some don't-blame-me ideas for dinner, here's what the Morgans are having for the next six days.

Thursday - Cuban black beans and rice
I made this dish tonight, and it was delicious. It's vegetarian and healthy, though we added sour cream on top. Mr. Morgan, of course, added shredded cheddar cheese, since he likes "to err on the side of cheese." We included a spinach salad on the side.

Friday - Rosemary chicken with zucchini
This recipe claims to be a good make-ahead meal, since it's easily frozen and cooked later. I think I'll double the recipe and save the frozen portions for the several deliver-any-day-now moms I know.

Saturday - Tomato-rosemary tart
Hopefully we won't be too sick of rosemary to eat this tart for Saturday's lunch. I already had a puff-pastry package in the freezer, so after I bought tomatoes I was good-to-go.

Sunday - Broccoli and three-cheese lasagna
This vegetarian recipe looks hearty, so here's hoping Mr. Morgan can tolerate another no-meat dish.

Monday - Slow-roasted pork with taco fixings
I'm planning to slow-roast the pork starting early Monday, since it takes five hours. The meal should make for delicious leftovers for Mr. Morgan's lunches next week.

Tuesday - Shrimp with tomatoes and olives
For the little olive-LOVER in our family, I'm preparing this meal. After her soccer game, Claire will be famished, so I'm sure an olive-laden dish will be a welcome sight.

April 6, 2010

Beach Day

This afternoon we headed to the beach to soak up the sun. It was much cooler and windier than we thought, so poor Claire was freezing after she took a dip. By the time we made it out to the beach, it was nearly time for Hamilton's nap. He slept bundled up in the shade.
Hamilton loved the sand and shells. Hopefully our next trip will be warmer, and I can put him in the water to play.
Before we left, I walked down to the water with Hamilton. We stuck our feet in the cold water, and he loved it, especially the small waves lapping around his knees.


Last Thursday we joined in the Passover Seder that Redeemer hosted. Seth and I enjoyed last year's meal, and this year Claire was able to join us. Claire was asked to read the child's part during the responsive reading. She did well reading loudly and clearly for everyone to hear. Everyone came up to her afterwards saying what a good job she did.

During the meal she had lots of questions: One of her questions involved the wine that was served. Most folks drank red wine, though grape juice was offered for children and others who didn't want the wine. Claire was concerned that she not get the wine, and we assured her she'd be getting the juice. A few minutes later she asked, "Gray, what would happen if a kid drank alcohol? Would you die?"

"No, no, one sip wouldn't matter, but a few sips or more would be too much for a kid," I assured her. "It would just make you feel sleepy most likely," I started, trying to think of other symptoms that I could share with her.

With a helpful tone, Claire guessed, "Would it be like if you drank Ovaltine?"

April 5, 2010

Easter Sunday

All the kids at church looked so cute in their Easter finery. Our little friend Abby Koch looked sweet in her pale-pink dress. We coaxed Hamilton and her to sit for a few seconds while we took their picture.
Hamilton loved sitting in the mulch. To my surprise, he didn't put the mulch in his mouth, though I wasn't surprised that he immediately grabbed at the chunky mulch dropping it all over his legs.Hamilton and Uncle Travis looked dapper in their matching Easter stripes.
We snapped a quick photo after church. Claire was off galavanting with her friends, so she didn't make the picture.Hamilton loves touching Daddy's scratchy face, though he shies away from the scratchy-face kisses.

Downtown Evening

Saturday morning Travis came to visit. He told Mom he was jealous of all the time she'd been spending with little Hamilton, so he came for Easter weekend. We enjoyed his visit, and he and Hamilton had lots of face time. We ventured downtown on the beautiful afternoon for a walk in the park.We spent as much time as Mr. Morgan could stand sitting at the park and walking around downtown. Then we went out for sushi, which made the downtown trip worth it for Mr. Morgan.Saturday was so breezy and much cloudier than we'd expected, but lots of folks were out at waterfront park.

Standing Like a Champ

Hamilton has now mastered standing at the coffee table. The other day he banged away on the coffee table, then he'd turn and bang on the couch. He's not moving his feet yet, but he's not falling over when he's a bit off balance either.

Nine Months Old

Our little boy is nine months old today, though he's not so little anymore! At our doctor's appointment today he weighed 18 pounds 10 ounces, and he was 30 inches long. The doctor says all his motor skills look good, and he's exactly where he should be for his age. He did all his latest tricks for her: He squealed and screeched with delight, squirmed and rolled over and over, and stood tall and proud on his strongs legs. He didn't need any shots today, so it was a painless visit. She said we could start him on meats and food from our table, so he had bits of chicken tonight which he ate heartily. I'm looking forward to buying less formula and preparing less pureed baby food. He's a delightful boy who seems happy most all the time, and his little smile will melt your heart. He loves to make noises, including squeals and screams, word sounds that resemble "ma-ma" and "da-da," and big raspberries which drench himself with spit. We don't allow him to blow raspberries while he's eating, but he more than makes up for it all other times.
He grabs for everything now, and his reach is quicker and longer than I'm used to. He wouldn't just sit beside his friends this time for his photo shoot, so I resigned myself to most of his pictures having Simon in his lap.