9.27.2013

highlands bar and grill

Last night, Mat and I went to Highlands Bar and Grill to celebrate our 5th Anniversary (which was Aug. 30) and to celebrate the birth of our second child. We had planned this night out for quite a while, because it's a chore to get reservations. We have been to Bottega Cafe, one of Frank Stitt's other restaurants, but we were so excited about going to his flagship in Birmingham's Five Points. Our reservations were at 6:00p, and we got to the restaurant right around 6 o'clock.


When we got to the door, we say that a couple photographers from The New York Times were at the restaurant making photos for a story. Really cool. We were seated right away, and got our menus and water.

We ordered the famous grits for our appetizer, and they brought out a couple different kinds of bread, but oh my goodness, y'all. Cornbread. Frank Stitt's cornbread. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the cornbread, which is probably due to the fact that we gobbled it down so quickly. It was amazing. Our wonderful waiter said that sometimes, they have some left over at the end of the night, and he will take some home and pan sear it with some butter to have for breakfast with his honey. Y'all. Cornbread like you've never tasted it. Cornbread.



We ordered the stone ground baked grits with country ham, mushrooms, fresh thyme, and parmesan for our appetizer. I've never had anything like it. Mat and I split it, and it was the perfect portion. The sauce that is on the grits is rich and creamy, and the ham and thyme make the dish. Of course, I'm a sucker for a good mushroom, so the mushrooms added a lot to the dish for me. Mat, who usually doesn't like mushrooms, loved them, too.




We enjoyed our bread (and a second round of bread) as we waited to order our food. We watched the restaurant really fill up with people, too. There were not a lot of folks in the dining room when we arrived, but 15-30 minutes later, there were tons of people at the tables.

We waited a few minutes to order our food, and Mat ended up ordering the Fudge Farms Pork Paillard with House Cured Bacon, Corn, and Green Beans and I had the Ribeye Steak with Michael Dean’s Arugula, Steak Fries, and Peppercorn A├»oli. I don't have a photo of Mat's, but here is mine...


I can't even begin to describe the food we ate. I was just unreal. Mat said you know you're eating good food when the last bite is better than the first, and I think he's right. Everything was so good. Even the arugula I had with my steak was so fine, and I'm not a huge arugula fan. The peppercorn aioli really made the dish-- it was spicy and creamy and a little chilled. Perfect addition to my perfectly cooked medium steak and fries.

Mat's dish was so tender, and it was served with this corn mixture that was creamy and full of sweet, home-grown corn. Some of Mat's vegetables even came from Frank Stitt's garden. So neat.

While we were dining, the lady herself, Pardis Stitt (Frank's wife), came out to the dining room to mingle. She obviously knew several of the patrons, as she spoke and laughed with them while giving them hugs, big smiles and information about the latest interior updates to Highlands. She said, "We love it here. It's our life, you know?" Yes, I do know. We can tell.

(No, I'm not above a stalker photo.)

For dessert, at the recommendation of our waiter, we had the Sea Salt Caramel and Chocolate cake. Y'all. It was amazing. It was perfectly sweet with a glossy chocolate top, with the richest caramel on the plate. On the bottom of the cake, you could see the grains of salt. I couldn't imagine a better way to top off our meal at Highlands.



We had the best experience at Highlands. It may be a little pricey to eat there, but trust me-- it's pricey for a reason. It's GOOD. It was probably the best meal I've ever had. I was so glad to get to spend a night alone with my husband in such a fine Alabama eatery. If you ever have a chance to go, don't miss out. Go check out Frank and Pardis' restaurant tucked beautifully in Birmingham's Five Points South. It is definitely an experience!

9.26.2013

you're two months old, ford!

My sweet Ford boy, you are TWO MONTHS OLD! I know this post is almost 20 (!!!) days late, but we've been absolutely swamped with feeding you and enjoying every second with you. Here's what's been happening with you this month (August and September)...

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On Aug. 27, I took you for a weight check and you had only gained 1 oz. in a week (up to 8 lbs., 14 oz.). They upped your formula supplements from 1 to 3 oz. 

On Sept. 16, you had your 2 month check-up. You weighed 9 lbs., 9 oz. (below 5th%), were 23 in. long (25-50th%) and your head was 39.5 cm. around (10-25th%). You got 3 shots and an oral vaccine. You didn't like those old shots in your tiny little thighs, but you calmed down as soon as I picked you up. You ran a fever the day after you got your shots, and I could tell you just didn't feel well. We spent a lot of time snuggling and nursing, and you were back to your old self in just a few days.

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You are still in newborn diapers, and you wear mostly newborn and some 0-3/3 months clothes.

You are still nursing on demand and I supplement your nursing with a 3 oz. bottle after each feeding. You love to nurse and drink your bottle, so hopefully your weight will go up soon!

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On Sept. 5, you slept from 10:30p until 5:00a. I was so proud of you! You're still sleeping in our room. I just don't think you're ready for your crib just yet. You usually sleep for about 5 hour stretches at night-- sometimes longer, sometimes a little shorter. You usually fall asleep around 8:00-9:00, right when your big sister goes to bed.

Your sister always loved to nurse to sleep, but that's not really your thing. You like to be held and patted on the back to go to sleep. You love when I wrap you up in your Pottery Barn Chamois blanket. You fall fast asleep really quickly!

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You are definitely a momma's little guy. You love your momma. And I love that you do! You love it when I sing to you and talk to you.

You are always smiling when people talk to you. You really love it. You especially love to FaceTime with Mumsy; it always gets you in a big-time talking mood!!

You can "oooooo" and "gooooo" with the best of them, too! You are a talker and a smiler. I've never meet a more smilier baby. Such a sweet thing. 

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Oh, my Ford boy, your momma loves you so very much. There's nothing like the love of a momma for her little man. Thank you for stealing my heart, buddy. You mean the world to me!

And for comparison, AWA at 2 months (13 lbs., 9 oz.) and Ford at 2 months (9 lbs., 9 oz.). :)

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9.25.2013

the weekend

We had a great weekend this past weekend. Mat's parents were out of town, and my mom stayed in Rome until Sunday, so we were prepared to be bored to death. But we actually ended up really enjoying just hanging around the house a little bit.



Friday, we all went the grocery store. It was our first grocery trip with both babies. Everyone, including adults, handled the situation very well. (Except for a mild overreaction on my part regarding the loss of our Winn Dixie card AND key fob from Mat's keychain.) We had to have two buggies, and Ford fell asleep somewhere between the bread and dairy aisles. Mission accomplished. 

(Which, by the way, do y'all eat turkey bacon? We do (Oscar Meyer brand), and we love it! I have two slices every morning (if I'm not having eggs) along with my oatmeal. Pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes (2 minutes, 30 seconds if you like yours more done), and it's ready. Delicious!)

Friday night, we hung out as a family. I made maple pecan chicken for dinner, and it was amazing. Here's the recipe in case you'd like to try it::


It is a recipe from our diet, but in the words of my husband, "I'd eat that even if I weren't on a diet!" It's delicious. We paired it with turnip greens out of a can and quinoa out of a box because THAT'S HOW I ROLL.

Saturday morning, we watched College Gameday and a few snipits of football, then we picked up my grandmother's birthday cake from the bakery. I ran in Walmart for a couple of things while Mat drove the babies around in the parking lot. We came home, and later I ran on a long search for fenugreek and ended up at Walmart for the second time that day because CVS and Walgreens had 32different kinds of fish oil, but no fenugreek.

Saturday night, Ama-Watts pretty much made my life when she picked her favorite college football team by saying this::


Roll Tide, sweet baby girl! Roll Tide! I feel like I've arrived as a parent!

Sunday, we had church and the Lord's Supper then went to Papa and Mimi's house for Mimi's 83rd birthday party. It was Papa and Mimi's first time meeting Ford. I'm so glad both of my babies have gotten to meet my maternal grandparents and their great-grandparents!

(My Mimi is suffering from Alzheimer's, and it's so tough watching that disease ruin her body and mind. Times like these (with all the family together at her house) are sweet. When I left her house that day, "old" Mimi seemed to come back, just for a moment, as she hugged me and said, "I want you to know you're beautiful, and you'll always be beautiful no matter what." I miss my Mimi sometimes.) 


While we were there, everyone loved on Ford and AWA, and I don't have a picture, but I'm pretty sure Ford is in love with his Aunt Tammy. He slept on her almost the whole time we were there. Aunt Moy (Morgan) also got lots of snuggle time, too.



Sometime during the party, AWA came up missing, and we found her on top of my grandparents' kitchen table eating cake with her fingers. It's not often AWA will eat sweets, but I guess she takes after her momma, because BIRTHDAY CAKE.



We went home later in the afternoon, and Mat's parents stopped by our house on the way home from the beach. It felt like weeks since we'd seen them, even though it had only been 4 days.

We put AWA to bed that night and watched tv while I held my Ford. We are thankful for weekends of rest and time with church family, family and extended family. 



Also, Mat? I found the Winn Dixie card...in my purse. Don't be mad, okay? ;)

9.17.2013

the genius bar and 49-42

What a weekend!!



I'll start with Friday. I had an appointment with the Apple Genius Bar in Birmingham, so we left Watts with Gran V and headed down there around 10:30. We stopped to eat at Saw's before going to the Summit. It was Ford's first trip to Saw's. He so enjoyed watching me eat a BBQ baked potato the size of my head and his daddy eat a burger that could kill a small animal. Food is our love language.
                           

We left Saw's and went to the Apple store. I checked in, a few minutes early, and they told me to "shop around." (Because that's what you do in stores where the cheapest item is over $100... So I stood awkwardly in the corner.)

I stood there for a moment then an Apple guy came up to me and asked when was the last time I backed my iPhone up to my iCloud. "Ummmm, never?" I replied. Which, was not a good reply, apparently. He told me I would probably have to have my iPhone completely erased, and I panicked a little bit. But what was a girl to do?

I finally got matched up with my technician, and he was blind. At first, I was reluctant. How in the world was this going to work? But, it turns out, Shane (the technician) was amazing. It was crazy to watch him type on his little black box then see him read the Braille that would pop up at the top of that box. He had me a new iPhone 4S in a matter of minutes. I was really amazed.

As Mat perused Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers, I redownloaded apps on my phone. LUCKILY, my pictures on my photo stream AND my Notes and Contacts were still there.

Crisis averted.

Mat took me to Olexa's after that to have a piece of warm cake with buttercream icing. Heaven on earth. Ford also found Mr. Bug at Olexa's, and they seemed to have a good time together.



That night, we had hung out at Gran V and Pop's house with the babies and with Mat's sister Lenze, and her boyfriend, who were home from college.

Saturday morning, Ford boy and I woke up early to watch "College Gameday." But it's not like I could have slept anyway; I was so nervous. Mom came around lunch, and we watched Alabama and Texas A&M kickoff at 2:30. The first quarter was nerve-racking, to say the least. I wasn't prepared for Johnny Football, and it didn't look like our defense was, either. I did my workout during halftime (partly because I needed to and partly to burn some stress), and we headed over to Gran V and Pop's to watch the rest of the game. Thankfully, Alabama (really!!) showed up the second half and shut. that. mess. down. 

49-42, Alabama. Roll Tide! My little heart could not have been more proud.

We went to church Sunday and had a gift card shower for our youth minister and his wife. Sunday night, we went back over to Gran V and Pop's house to have steaks and see Lenze before she went back to Tuscaloosa. (Have I told y'all how excited I am to have another UA girl in the family now?!? Roll Tide, Lenze!!!)



I took both babies to the pediatrician yesterday. Ford had his 2 month appointment. I told AWA she was just tagging along, but I ended up asking if she could go ahead and get her flu shot. She did, and she took it like a complete champion-- didn't cry a bit, but did hate that Garfield band-aid on her little thigh. The girl amazes me. (More on Ford'a appointment when I put his 2 month post up soon...)




We had a good weekend, and Monday came with all the lovely things Monday brings. It's a day-by-day struggle sometimes, and every now and then, you have to start-over to get your lock button fixed.

Just like my iPhone 4S.

9.12.2013

y'all. it's coming.

        

Y'all. It's coming. 

Alabama vs. Texas A&M.

Saturday.

Two. days. away.

I'm so nervous.



Now, Alabama has a couple of advantages here. First, we lost in the same match-up last year. We lost bad, and it was ugly. Second, we've got a National Title (or two) (or three) (or 15) to defend. Third, Johnny Football. The guy's a JOKE. I know he can handle the football, but seriously. Where is his mother? Shame on him.

I'm not a complete idiot. I know A&M has advantages as well. But, I choose not to focus on them. Instead I focus on the Tide, and I'm thankful for the extra week we had to prepare for this game.

So, Roll Tide, dear blog readers. Two days until GAMEDAY.

Two. days.

9.11.2013

a few thoughts...

A few thoughts this evening...

1. My iPhone's lock button is kaput. It's been working off and on lately, and then about a week ago, it just completely quit working. I casually moseyed up to the Apple store last Thursday night thinking they might fix it, but apparently, you must have an appointment to visit the illustrious Genius Bar. The Apple store worker, in his cut off jeans, blue t-shirt with the Apple logo on front, and dark-rimmed hipster glasses, let me go through a painstakingly long self-assessment of what is wrong with my iPhone, then handed me a business card and told me to make an appointment. I went away from the Apple store telling Mat that society has fallen into an Apple pit; we will pay whatever they ask for whatever they put out. Then, when that product messes up, we'll head to an Apple store to get it fixed, then realize we have to have an appointment. We'll get frustrated, then just end up buying a newer version of whatever we had that messed up. And then a Genius Bar person will miraculously be available to help us transfer our data and set said new product up because OF COURSE. 
My name is Whitney, and I am an Apple addict.

2. I love making pics of my babies with my "good" camera (not just my iPhone). But, my curious daughter has a deep fascination with my camera. Anytime I point it at her, a sudden urge to hold my camera overcomes her. So I end up with one (maybe two) blurry pictures of Watts, and an hour of my time monitoring her while she hold my camera. I am absolutely flabbergasted as to what to do to remedy the situation.

                                  

3. On a more serious note, can I just say how excited I am that new episodes of fall television shows come on at the end of this month?! My DVR has had a great summer off, and we're ready to fill it up starting at the end of the month. Pumped. Bring on the entertainment.

4. On an even more serious note, 3 days until GAMEDAY. I've already got my DVR set to record just in case I go temporarily blind on Saturday at 2:30 when Alabama kicks-off at Texas A&M. I know Coach Saban and the Tide have been ruthlessly preparing for their revenge since last year's awful display of not showing up. Let's remedy that this weekend, okay? Roll Tide. (I'm nervous already.)

5. I am composing this on my new iPad Mini. See #1.

6. My Ford boy is asleep in my arms. Our afternoon trip to Walmart did him in.

                                  

That's all for now. Happy Tuesday!
   

9.09.2013

monday, breakfasts and hand mixers

We had a laid-back Monday.

Ford slept really, really well Sunday night. I hope we can transition him to his crib soon. We'll see. AWA woke up in the middle of the night crying. She's done that a couple times over the last few weeks. Thankfully, Mat was able to be Father of the Year and get her right back to sleep!!



Ama-Watts loves to pretend to go "night night" on the daybed in our sunroom. Sometimes, I won't be able to find her at home, and I'll find her in the sunroom on the bed. Crazy girl!

Mat stayed home from work a little Monday morning, because he's been working so much on the weekends lately. It was so nice to have him home this morning! We have both become something we'd never thought we'd be-- breakfast people. Every morning, Mat scrambles eggs and he has fruit while I have oatmeal. We've also started eating turkey bacon, too. Yum! (We are on a diet/workout plan with Willmore Training [www.willmoretraining.com]. Jon and his wife Stephanie are so great, and they keep us moving and on our toes six days a week. Mat's parents are on the plan with us, also. We've made it into a little competition of sorts...to make it fun. :) )


It's safe to say that AWA is always cracking me up with her choice of toys. Yesterday, she wanted to play with my pink hand mixer. I was happy to oblige. She also loves playing with my dish towels, our guacamole bowl, lids to pots and pans and her wet washcloths. Who knows what's going on in that little head?!


We've also had to start disciplining Ama-Watts more frequently lately. It breaks my heart, but Mat and I know that it's for her best. We always stay close to her when we've just disciplined her so that we can comfort her and tell her it's ok while calmly explaining that she must obey/not do ______/listen to Mommy and Daddy, etc. She's growing up, and growing up is hard!

After dinner, baths and baby bedtimes last night, Mat and I watched "Admission" with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. I fell asleep (of course), so I don't know how it ended. I'm going to try to finish it today maybe.

Happy Tuesday, folks!

9.08.2013

weekend recap

I feel like I need to be blogging more frequently. I sometimes don't blog because I don't feel like my pictures are "good enough" or "not edited" or I just feel overwhelmed and don't know what to blog about because we didn't do anything "extraordinary" that day/week. But that's not a good excuse. I want to remember the little things; not just the big events like birthdays and holidays. So, all of that being said, I'm going to attempt to start blogging more often...even about the "boring" stuff.

We had a pretty low-key weekend. Our weekends start on Thursday night because Mat is off work on Fridays. We had date night on Thursday night. We went to Birmingham to The Summit while Pop and Gran V kept the babies. We ate at Flip Burger, and it was so good. We got classic hamburgers with fries, rings, and sweet potato tots. It was also "splurge night" on our diet. We went all out. :)

                   

After dinner, we went to the Loft, and I got some new clothes I'd had my eye on. We left The Summit and went to Cold Stone (splurge night, remember?!?). I had Birthday Cake Remix, which so reminded me of humid, late nights in college at Bama--eating Cold Stone sitting outside on The Strip. (That Cold Stone isn't there anymore. Really sad.) After Cold Stone, we went to Target and spent a bunch of money on what boiled down to be two bags of stuff. But isn't that always how Target trips go?!

We got home late, and both babies were asleep. :) Ford slept until 5am Friday morning. I asked Gran V what time she'd be back Friday night to get him asleep again. Ha!

Friday morning, the babies and I hung around the house while Mat went to work for a bit. I cleaned house (as much as one can while watching two under two). Gran V swung by after lunch to watch Ford while AWA napped so that Mat and I could go to the grocery store without kids. Ahhh, what a luxury!

                                      

                                     

Friday night, we went to the FBC Youth tailgate at the Westbrook/Fyffe game. It was so, so hot, but AWA had a blast playing cornhole...or putting the beanbags in the holes in the boards.

I snapped this pic of Ford and Mat, and Ford's smile makes me so happy!

                        

Saturday, we hung around here. I watched football/College Gameday all morning while Mat got some sermon prep done. Gran V and Pop came over for dinner. I made turkey chili, and it was delicious!!

                       

                                 

We had a great High Attendance Sunday at church this morning! The babies and I made it just in time for worship. Mat preached a great sermon on trusting God and His Word because of Christ from Hebrews 11. Thankful for my pastor! We had lunch with Damon, the boys (our nephews), Gran V and Pop at Red Lobster. We rested this afternoon, and my mom came by on her way back to Rome.

                                 

                                 

Tonight we had FBC Coffeehouse at church. Mat spoke on God's Word, and we had Q&A and dessert afterwards. I love fellowshipping with my church family!

I love the weekends. So thankful for a full but fun one these past few days. Have a great week!!