Friday, October 30, 2015

Everyone Else is Pregnant

I debated whether or not to post this.  Often I'll write something just to get it out of my head.  A way to express myself without actually having to engage if you will (I'm a bit of an introvert) and I don't always publish what I write.  I certainly don't want to offend anyone and I don't want to give the impression that I'm unhappy or ungrateful - I'm not.  But I do have moments of sadness and this blog is MY space.  Ultimately, I decided to share my thoughts because I know there are others who can relate...

It feels like nearly every friend/relative is pregnant right now (at least 5 ladies that I can think of!).  Even quite a few bloggers I follow have recently announced pregnancies.  I’m having a tough time with all of the announcements lately.  (Not to the point where I'd stop talking to people or unfriend them... ahem.  I've experienced that firsthand.)  I’m not exactly sure why I'm feeling down.  It’s not like I haven’t heard my fair share of pregnancy announcements over the years.  I’m happy for friends and family.  I really, truly am.  And I know I’ve come out on the winning end of infertility because I have two perfectly amazing boys who bring me more joy than I ever imagined.

So why am I sad?

People have asked me if I feel like I missed out because I’ve had two c-sections instead of a natural birth.  My answer: No.  Absolutely not.  Not at all.  The births of the boys were perfect and my recovery went relatively smoothly post c-sections.  I’m a little curious what a natural birth would be like, but I certainly don’t feel like I missed out on anything. 

I’ve also been asked if I feel like there’s a void because I don’t have a girl.  Again my answer is no way.  Not at all.  When I found out W was a boy, I was a little nervous because I’m so girly.  I don’t like getting dirty.  I hate bugs.  I don’t do camp outs, video games, or super heroes.  I haven’t even seen Star Wars… GASP.  But I quickly learned that none of that matters.  Because I can make a toy car zoom, build towers, draw doggies, make play dough stars, build garages out of Magna Tiles, and read all the best books.  And I can do all those things in a single day!! :)  W doesn’t care about the things I’m not interested in or don’t do – he’s only concerned with the activities I excel at - and I can build some pretty amazing garages if I do say so myself.  And S.  My smiley, content baby boy.  Always willing to go with the flow and up for trying any new food I place on his tray.  I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

I do wonder what the future will hold as the boys age.  I talk to my mom nearly every day and I don’t envision the boys wanting to discuss the Oscar dresses or the cute shoes I found, but hopefully they’ll still want to spend a little time with mom when they’re grown.  And I’m ridiculously excited for little league sports.

But there is something I feel like I missed out on.  And that is conceiving naturally.  IVF was always our only option.  An option I’m so thankful for.  But I do wish we could have a baby without all the monitoring, medications, and shots.  And every time someone announces a surprise pregnancy, it stings.  They weren’t even trying for a baby and they got one??  I have no idea what that would be like.  Yet some people endure SO many IVF cycles.  And many times they aren’t even successful.  It just makes no sense to me.  I’ve also had quite a few ladies tell me that they wouldn’t have pursued IVF if they couldn’t get pregnant on their own.  Although they don’t mean it to be offensive, it does hurt my feelings.  It’s a personal choice I know.  But in a weird way, I feel like it implies my efforts weren’t worth it or that they weren't willing to try that hard.  And unless you're in a situation where IVF is your ONLY option for expanding your family, you really can't say how you'll feel about it.

Anyway.  I think the hardest part of all the pregnancy announcements is knowing that we likely won’t have more children.  Not because we don’t want more, but because we don’t want to endure another IVF cycle.  Insurance won’t cover it and I think my body has had enough.  Not to mention the heartache that comes with a failed cycle.  And the thought of no more sweet babies in our future hurts.  And I feel guilty/ridiculous/greedy/selfish just typing that because I know so many are still in the trenches of infertility.  I’m actually one of the lucky ones.  Ugggh.

Apologies for such an emotional post on a Friday.  I wrote a related post on this and I’ll share it soon…

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

8 Years

8 years ago, I married my better half.  I would've never imagined we'd be where we are today and I'm so grateful for every blessing.  Here's to many more years of happiness.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekend Recap

Our weekend was really busy and exhausting.

Saturday night, I worked at an auction with my mom.  We do this every year and I remember mentioning it in previous post.  I always enjoy volunteering at the event, but it means lots of time on my feet and I don’t arrive home until after 10:30pm.  It’s always great to see the same familiar faces and exchange hugs and stories throughout the night.  This particular auction was one of my favorites because I came home with two awesome prizes that I am ridiculously excited about!!  One is a wine tasting for up to 16 people.  Too bad I don’t have many friends and the few I do have are pregnant, but hoping for a fun night with family!  The other is a ride to preschool on a fire truck for W!!  The fire truck will pick him up at our house and drop him off at preschool!!  Can you believe that?!?  I may be more excited than he is.

The rest of the weekend consisted of walks outside, a haircut, raking leaves, trying to clean up the house only to have it messy again within 5 minutes, church, Starbucks, grocery shopping, and other things that I’m forgetting…

OH!!  And guess which 8 month old finally got some teeth!  His two bottom teeth finally poked through over the weekend. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Stitch Fix #4

Stitch Fix numero quatro arrived on Friday.  I actually peeked at the website before opening my box and was a little disappointed.  But then when I tried on the items, I liked them more than I thought I would.

First up was the Market & Spruce Chaplin Lined Hooded Anorak Jacket.  That's a mouthful.  I had this pinned, but didn't plan on keeping it because I had just gotten a jacket in my last fix.  BUT I kind of have a weak spot for cute jackets.  I told myself that if this was any color, other than army green, I was sending it back.  Lo and behold, it was army green.  Also, it was lined and had a hood.  Two things that seem to be harder to find than they should be, but are necessary for autumn in Chicago.  At the end of the day, I just liked this too much not to keep it.  It was the perfect weight - not light, but not too heavy either.  Note my favorite red headed toddler making a guest appearance!

He's a way better model than I am!

Verdict: KEPT
Next up was the Dean Skinny Jean and Daniel Rainn Waltie Black Lace Panel Blouse.  The jeans had a little zipper at the ankle and upon seeing it, my initial reaction was no thanks.  But then I changed my mind and decided I really liked that added detail.  However, after wearing these pants for a bit, I realized I had to keep pulling them up.  So these had to go back.  Normally anything Daniel Rainn is an automatic keeper for me, but I just didn't love this blouse.  I love floral patterns, but this pattern was a bit much and I wasn't sure about the dark color.  It did have a really cute lace panel down the back that I loved.  I may regret not keeping it.

Verdict RETURNED pants and RETURNED blouse
Then it was time for the Colourworks Syriana Open Drape Cardigan.  I really liked the texture/material of this one, but that's the only positive thing I can say.  It was just wrong for me.  Too long and just too big.  I felt like it was swallowing me.

Finally, the 41Hawthorne Ahoy Lace Panel Knit Top.  This is so me.  I loved it.  I wish it was a little longer, but I wore a cami under it and problem solved. Stripes and lace - yes and yes.  It may not look all that flattering in the picture, but I don't care.  Knit tops like this are perfect for working at home or errands with the boys.

Verdict: KEPT
So there you have it.  Once again, I was really happy with my Fix.  Also, props to me for getting out the camera once again! And I didn't even chop off part of my head in these pics!! ;)

As always, if you're considering trying Stitch Fix, I'd be so grateful if you used my referral code!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weekend Recap

Well, it was a pretty depressing weekend in the world of Chicago sports.  Definitely not how I was hoping to start the week.  Let’s just move on before I shed a tear… L

There were some high points this weekend.  We had family pictures on Saturday.  Yes, we just took pictures not too long ago.  I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.  But I wanted a family photo that we could use for our Christmas cards and the ones we had taken on that 90 degree day a couple months ago just didn’t say Christmas to me.  I felt silly scheduling another photo session after the horrendous session last time, but A assured me that I would never regret having too many photos, but I may regret not having them taken.  I love that husband of mine.  He’s a wise one.  So alas, we set out to a little canoe launch just down the street.  It wasn’t my favorite setting, but it was about 5 minutes from home.  On the bright side, there were no tears or meltdowns.  On the downside, the morning started off in the 30 degree range and I’m fairly certain there will be no photos in which the boys are both looking at the camera.  I guess that’s just how photo sessions with little ones go.

The remainder of the day was spent trying on my Stitch Fix items (more on that in an upcoming post) and grocery shopping.  W and S both took long naps that actually overlapped for about 45 minutes!!

Sunday was our usual.  A and I went to a baby shower and it was fun to catch up with friends even though we could only stay for a short time.  I made chili in the crock pot.  Yum!  Nothing says fall like a pot full of chili!  And that was pretty much our weekend.  W has always loved to help, but he’s been exceptionally helpful recently.  He made cookies with Nani on Friday, raked leaves with daddy yesterday, and then helped me make chili.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Thoughts (mostly on fashion)...

Oh Friday, where have you been all my life??

My 4th Stitch Fix is arriving today.  I had planned on postponing it for a week or two, but we have family photos coming up so I thought I’d see if there was anything picture worthy in this fix.  I peeked at my box online and first impression is I’m not very excited about the contents of this box.  Maybe I’ll change my mind when I see the items in person.  I’d like to say I’m going to take real photos of this Stitch Fix but the chances of that are slim to none. :\

Speaking of clothes, I ordered a plaid top and was super super excited about layering it under sweaters and cardigans.  I could not wait to receive it!  And then I did and I didn’t like it.  Boo.  I hate when that happens.  Such a letdown.  It just didn’t fit well – too big, thicker than I expected, etc.  I’ll be sending that one back.  Very disappointed.

I guess my thoughts are all focused on apparel today.  I LOVE fall clothing.  Remember that striped dress I got from my 3rd stitch fix?  I thought it would look cute with a jean jacket… and I was right!  I used to have one, but never wore it so I must have donated it.  I should have known better!  A jean jacket never really goes out of style.  Anyway, I borrowed this one from my mom and it was a bit big (strange because my mom actually wears a smaller size than I do).  But still a cute outfit.

Nothing special about this outfit, but it felt really fall. :)  Side note:  When I don't have time to blow dry my crazy hair straight, I just throw it up in a loose bun and call it good (like I did in the photo below).  My coworker just asked if I had my hair styled for an event.  LOL!!  If only my life were that glamorous.

In non fashion news, I'm attending a baby shower this weekend for a friend who went through IVF.  Her IVF cycle failed and then she got pregnant naturally!  Love stories like that!

W absolutely loves to help.  This morning, we went to the pantry and grabbed a Nutrigrain bar, unzipped my lunch bag, put the Nutrigrain bar in, and zipped it back up.  He wanted to make sure I had my breakfast.  Then he grabbed my purse and pump bag, walked me to the door, and opened the door for me.  Such a gentleman!  As I was pulling out of the drive way, I saw him at the window waving to me.  Adorable.  I love that little guy so much.

Cheers for Friday!!  And GO CUBS GO!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

W Says...

This toddler stage is such a whirlwind (for lack of a better word).  There are times when W is just so much fun and the things he says are hilarious.  And then there are other times when he’s throwing a tantrum and he doesn’t even know why he’s upset.  Anyway, W’s been saying some really amusing things lately that I don’t want to forget…

He tells me quite often, “W buy mommy a yellow car.”  I’m not sure where this came from or why he says it, but fingers crossed that it’s a sports car!

Often says, “Put S down!” and “S, go away!”  And if I ask where he wants S to go, W will say the aker-bee (which translates to bakery).

His favorite color is purple (right now).

Pronounces barricade “carri-cade”.

Has an unhealthy obsession with air conditioners.  Again, I can’t explain it.  But he points out every one in the neighborhood and wants to know if each one is on.  He was pretty thrilled when the heat turned on at school today?

Loves to look down sewer grates to see if there’s water at the bottom.

Tells me he’s HANGRY.

Lately he’s obsessed with names.  When we’re on a walk, he’ll ask each person with a  dog what their dog’s name is.  He constantly asks me the names of the kids in his class.  He asks A what his students' names are and also asks grandma what her CCD students' names are.  Today he asked his teacher what her kids’ names are.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I learned more at preschool than W did...

Preschool.  One of those ideas that seemed like a good one at the time.  I thought it would be easy – drop W off, work at Starbucks, pick W up, continue with work, bask in not having to battle traffic to and from work.  If only it were that easy.  W has had a really tough time adjusting to preschool and since week 2, I’ve questioned if we started too soon.  I’m still not sure.  A lot of people have told me that it’s better to do this now.  Better to deal with separation anxiety now.  Better to have him socialize early on.  I’m not so sure.  If we had waited until 3, W would have been more mature, may have handled the transition better, and may have actually played with the other children.  Or maybe not.  I should also mention that this school is not new to W – he’s been attending a parent/child class since 20 months old.  One reason we thought the transition would be relatively smooth.

The second week of preschool was absolutely awful.  W cried so much he puked.  It was terrible for everyone involved – W, myself, and his teachers.  I didn’t know what to do.  We tried preparing him - reading books about school, talking about activities ahead of time, telling him mommy couldn’t stay and reminding him I would always pick him up.  We praised the paintings he brought home and excitedly talked about his school day.  Nothing worked.  One of W’s teachers suggested that I stay for one class to try to help W get back on track.  Hopefully my presence would encourage him to play and enjoy all that school had to offer instead of focusing on my absence.  I agreed to try it.  W cried for an hour straight the day I stayed.  I was ready to give up and just leave.  It didn’t help that a visiting grandma commented on W’s constant crying (yet she had to stay to keep her grandson from crying…).  Thanks, lady.  But after an hour, something changed.  W actually stopped crying and started having fun.

Each day, I’d stay for some time (usually about 30-45 minutes) and things got a tiny bit better each time (though there was still plenty of room for improvement).  I really appreciated that his teachers were patient and willing to let me stay and help W settle in.  But I was still having doubts.  

I was staying for a significant amount of time each school day.  That meant that I was starting work earlier and working later than I intended.  And there were still lots of tears when I eventually left W.  It also seemed that all the other children were having an easy time of it and I felt like a failure as a parent.  Sometimes I’d stay and watch W through the mirrored window.  I could see him, but he couldn’t see me.  A mistake on my part because watching him cry only made me feel that much worse.

There were two consecutive school days where I watched W and saw him standing at the window looking for me and crying for 15 minutes straight.  Although the teachers talked to him a couple times, they just let him be for the most part.  I was really upset.  Why was W even attending school if no one was comforting him when he was crying?  He wasn’t engaged.  He wasn’t socializing.  What was the point?  He certainly wasn’t getting anything out of school by standing at the window crying.

After watching W cry at the window, I had had enough.  I texted A with all my concerns.  I complained that I was tired of watching W cry.  Tired of missing work.  The whole experience was very draining.  And he texted me back something along the lines of, “Should we pull W out of preschool?”.  I wasn’t sure, but before making the decision, I had to talk to his teacher.

There were two turning points for me.  1.  I took W to school per usual, said goodbye, and walked to the window so I could wave to him.  He was crying as usual.  After waving, I tried to go back inside and watch him from the mirrored window again.  But this time, the door locked behind me.  It was sort of a wakeup call for me.  I couldn’t watch him forever.  It bothered me that no one was comforting W after I left, but, at some point, I had to trust the teachers.  Trust them to watch my W, trust that they’d help him appreciate school.  W also needed to learn that other adults could help him, comfort him, play, and teach him.  That he didn’t always need mom.  Although heartbreaking, I can’t always protect him.  That was a tough realization.  Of course I knew that I couldn’t keep W home with me forever, but that door locking behind me made me feel like I was handing over control.  And 2.  When I picked W up that day, I intended on talking to his teacher about all my concerns.  The conversation would ultimately determine if we should just quit preschool or keep trying.  His teacher told me that W had had a great day.  He did cry (of course), but only for a short time.  She told me that they had been purposely “ignoring” him while he was at the window crying for me.  They were giving him a little space and hoped he would come play when he was ready.  Although, I’m not sure I agree with this approach, it made me feel much better knowing that W wasn’t being forgotten, that “ignoring him” was intentional.  His teacher then told me that her son was similar.  That she had had a hard time leaving him, lots of tears, etc.  She thought that W was just a sensitive soul and it was going to take a bit longer for him to adjust, but that she was happy with his progress.  At that point, things changed for me.  I wasn’t having a conversation parent to teacher, but mom to mom.  I knew she understood my feelings and concerns.  I knew I wanted to make preschool work for all of us.

Things are still challenging.  I still stay with W for a short time at the beginning of class, but when I do leave, the tears are minimal.  Crying lasts about 5 minutes as opposed to 1 hour.  I’m hoping to get to a point where he doesn’t cry at all.  W actually asks to go to school now.  While I don’t see him play much with other children, I do see him playing alongside other children.  I feel like we’re definitely moving in the right direction.

And a little side note:  I’m in class so often, the other children know me.  They’ll ask me to build a garage for their cars or take me by the hand to show me a puzzle.  Their dinosaurs growl at me and they bring me pretend cupcakes to eat.  Not sure if it’s cute or a bit pitiful. :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Weekend Recap

I feel like I could write the same weekend recap for the past 3 weekends.  That doesn’t mean each weekend hasn’t been completely wonderful – it’s just that each weekend has consisted of farms and errands.  I’m perfectly ok with that.  I LOVE fall.  It’s going to be a very sad state when we can no longer enjoy being outside.

W LOVES the farm.  He was oh so excited to go on a hay ride and select pumpkins on Saturday.  I think he had a smile nearly the entire time we were on the hay ride.  He fed goats (again) and chose his perfect pumpkin.  He insisted on trying to pull the wagon full of pumpkins, but didn’t make it very far.  I love seeing how happy he is when we’re at the farm.  I also love supporting a local business.  That evening, we watched our Cubbies earn the W.  Yay!!!

"Mommy, take my picture on the hay?"  And then I get the most unamused face ever...

"Hey mommy, which button will put some runs on the board for the Cubs?"

"Oh!  I found it!  We're winning!!  Yayyyy!!"
Sunday was our usual – church, Starbucks, and football.  I made spinach and artichoke dip for the games and A requested baked mac and cheese for dinner.  There were a couple walks and we played ball outside.  Lots of fun.

I love dressing the boys for church.  I'll be so bummed if (when) they don't let me choose their outfits.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Thoughts

OMG... The Cubs are in the playoffs!!!  The Cubs are in the playoffs!!  We're so excited!

I have some weird cold virus thing going on.  For the past 3 days, I start out feeling ok and by mid day, I feel like crap - tired, achy, and congested.  I'm not sure what's going on, but it needs to go away.  Now.

Work has been crazy lately.  Super crazy.  Insanely crazy.  I have to work this weekend.  Boo.  And then the clinical department called me yesterday and asked if I'd mind reviewing data for them.  Ugghhhh...  Yes, actually I do mind. :\

Go Cubs!!!!

Every so often, there are seminars to attend at work involving the patients who benefit from our prescription drugs.  I find these seminars both fascinating and devastating and I'm always sure to attend.  In today's seminar, we heard about a patient who lost two babies to a rare illness.  Her third child to be affected by the disorder is surviving because of our medication.  Pharmaceutical companies often have a bad reputation for overcharging for prescriptions.  The majority of us who work in pharmaceuticals aren't in it because we want to charge astronomical amounts for medications.  We're here because we understand the science and we genuinely want to help people.  Also, research and development is not cheap.  For every marketed drug, it takes 12-15 years to develop that drug.  Only 5 in 5,000 compounds that enter pre-clinical testing make it to human testing.  Only one out of these five is approved.  Think about the costs associated with that...  When I studied chemistry, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.  But these seminars affirm that I made the correct career choice.  Even though I no longer work in the lab, I know that the work I do is helping people.

Favorite look this week:
I actually wore this last week and felt so very fall chic. :)  I think it also made me look approachable because several strangers talked to me that day - in the elevator, in the hallway... it was strange.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Baby S is 8 Months Old

S turned 8 months old on Monday.  Shocked at how fast time is flying for my baby.

Sweet S,
Happy 8 months!!
You grew up before my eyes this month. You’re so determined to be a toddler and kiss those baby days goodbye. You definitely focused on your motor skills this month. You’re starting to crawl! You get up on all fours and inch forward. You’re still perfecting your crawling skills, but you’re all over the place and into everything. You’ve decided that baby toys are for... well, babies. You much prefer to play with your brother’s trucks and Little People. You clap on demand and it’s incredibly cute. You’ve started pulling yourself up to stand!!! What?!? This caught us all by surprise. Nani walked in and caught you standing in your crib. Time to lower the mattress. You eat people food and are a big fan. You already eat more foods than W (not that I’m comparing… ahem). So far you’ve tried: waffles, apples and pineapple (in your feeder), tortellini, carrots, French fries, bananas, pancakes, bagels, and mashed potatoes. I think you’ve liked everything you’ve tried. You also sit in the restaurant high chair now and get mad if you aren’t offered adult food. You have no problem picking items up with that pincer grasp so long as the pieces aren’t too tiny. You started taking baths in the big bathtub! We have to keep a close eye on you because you roll onto your tummy and “swim”. You love to splash and play.
You started to enjoy books this past month and you absolutely love being outside. We’ve gone on lots of walks (sometimes 3 per day!!). You’ve also taken a liking to the Exersaucer and Jumparoo, but only in small doses.
You’ve developed a bit of a temper. You know what you want and you want it NOW. When we take something from you (or bring you inside), you let us know that you are none too pleased. And my oh my, do the tears and yells come on. Aside from being overtired, it’s the only time you’re really upset.
Sleeping has been a bit inconsistent this month. You go to bed between 7:30 and 8 and usually sleep for at least 8 hours straight. Unfortunately, this means that you sometimes wake up around 4. You eventually fall back asleep after a bottle, but usually like to talk and roll around for a bit. We’ve had a few glorious nights where you’ve slept 10 straight hours… more of those please!
I’m also proud to say that you’re still exclusively nursing. I never thought we’d make it this long given your size and (big) appetite. I started supplementing with formula at the 8 month mark for W, but we’re still going strong, little man. We make a great team. smile emoticon  One thing of note – you prefer to drink cold milk… That’s a new one for me.
This past month, we focused on enjoying all the wonderful things that early fall has to offer… pumpkin farms, corn mazes, cooler temperatures, the end of baseball, and football. Looking forward to the next month and your first Halloween! You are our everything and more, Baby S.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekend Recap

We had so much fun this weekend.  Saturday was our typical day of running errands.  We finally opened a savings account for S.  While at the bank, W was given a new green piggy bank, a toy car, some crayons, paper to color on, a bottle of water, and a lollipop.  Pretty sure he’s going to want to go to the bank every weekend.  We’d been meaning to open an account for S for months so I’m happy we can cross that off of the to do list.

Sunday, we went to church and Starbucks.  We decided to skip our usual football watching and instead headed to the world’s largest corn maze (or so they say…) with the boys and rest of the family.  W needed a nap and I hoped he would snooze in the car on the way to the maze.  No such luck.  We walked the maze for nearly two hours and the boys did great all things considered.  W alternated between walking and riding in the wagon.  S alternated between riding in the wagon and carrier.  W had a couple cranky moments, but was really great for the most part.  He was so tired by the end of the maze, he fell asleep in Nani’s arms.  S was perfectly content.  Side note - while in the wagon, his cheeks jiggled as he went over a bump... haha!  And I’m proud to say that we hit all the maze check points.  Last year remains the only time we didn’t finish the maze.  After finding our way out of the corn, we enjoyed donuts and then headed to our favorite pizza restaurant with the family.  Such a fun day!!  I so love fall!!  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Friday, October 2, 2015

Football Sunday

I’ve discussed our Sunday routine quite often on the old blog.  It always begins with church and Starbucks.  We’re big sports fans in these parts and now that football season has begun, our afternoons consist of… you guessed it, FOOTBALL.  As soon as we get home from Starbucks, we change into our football gear and decide what games to watch.

Unfortunatly, our team stinks this year (I’m looking at you, Bears!!), but A and I both participate in Fantasy Football so we have fun rooting on our fantasy players.  At 1 win and 2 losses, my team is staged for a comeback. ;)

As you may expect, with 2 little boys, it’s impossible to watch a game in its entirety.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t have football on from noon until bedtime and we try to catch at least a few minutes of the games throughout the day…  And we usually turn the Bears game off by half time and find another game to watch because they’re usually losing big… ahem. 

We’ve gotten into a nice little Sunday routine of snacks in lieu of lunch  followed by a big dinner.  Our snack always includes some type of dip and dinner is always some type of comfort food.  During our most recent football Sunday, I made queso dip and we had chicken tacos for dinner.  Yum.  Another favorite of ours is buffalo chicken dip and buffalo chicken enchiladas for dinner.  I thought I’d share both dip recipes today in case your Sunday is in need of a little flavor. :)

Crock Pot Queso Dip

Makes: 6-8 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium jalapeño pepper, de-stemmed and de-seeded, then minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large tomato, cored and finely diced
3 cups (12 ounces; 3/4 pound) shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, Mexican Chihuahua, or a shredded Mexican blend
1 8-ounce block cream cheese, cut into approximate 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup milk + additional milk as needed
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for serving (optional)

Brown the vegetables in a medium skillet or sauté pan on the stovetop over medium heat, then scrape them into the slow cooker.
Add the shredded cheese, cream cheese and milk to the slow cooker and stir to combine all the ingredients.
Close the slow cooker and cook on low for 1 1/2 hours.
Stir well, and add more milk 2 tablespoons at a time if needed. 
Top with chopped cilantro, if desired, and serve. The queso can be kept warm in the slow cooker using the warm function for at least 3 hours — stir periodically if the dip starts to thicken.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 packages cream cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 cup monterey jack cheese
3 cups shredded chicken
1/2-1 cup Franks sauce

Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Easy peasy.

Now to figure what to make this Sunday….

Thank you Man Crates for inspiring this post.  I had a look at their website and love the idea of themed crates.  They have all kinds of great gifts for men that have to be opened with a crowbar!  This Legends of Baseball crate may be in A’s future (Cubs themed of course) and this Oktoberfest Stein crate also looks tasty.