Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Fun

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. It's always amazing to me that so much work goes into preparing for the holidays and then in the blink of an eye, it's all over. The S family definitely had a lot of fun this year.

Of course, J was the star and played to two of his sets of grandparents with pleasure. He was so excited by having them there that presents actually took a back seat. He was very excited by the first sight of a giant stuffed dog, whom he named Pretzel after deciding that his own name was not a suitable name for it. Actually I think he just wanted to eat a pretzel, but we ignored that and the name stuck. He also served up soup and roasted fruit for his guests in his new wooden oven. Other than that, J had very little interst in opening many of his presents. He "oohed" and "aahhed" as he ripped into some paper, but often put the gift down before he was finished and went back to read a book or make more soup. Here we are at 9:50 on Dec. 26 and there are still presents wrapped with his name under the tree. I'm okay with that. I'm happy that he wants to take his time. I am also sending out a message to anyone thinking about his birthday in Feb that we do not need any more presents. We still may be opening your Christmas gifts then!

J and Daddy cuddle with the new ball of fluff





I got to work on some different appetizers for the middle of the day. Crab cakes, which were out of this world, scallops wrapped in pancetta, garlicky spinach dip, and homemade hummus. I made the hummus for J, but he quickly rejected it in favor of the packaged roasted red pepper variety. Oh well.

Christmas dinner was delicious. We cooked a nearly 12 pound prime rib for everyone. B found a cooking method by his buddy Alton Brown on one of the new dvds he got. It said to cook it at 275 for 30 minutes and then increase the temp to 320 until the temp reached about 115. Then you put it in a 500 degree oven for 5 minutes and let it rest when you took it out. We were all skeptical of this approach, but it honestly worked beautifully. We served it with a red wine and thyme au jus, which was funny because B and I were "helping" each other using diferent recipes. oops. It all turned out fine. Roasted potatoes, tomatoes, beans, anda mixed green salad with pears, walnuts and gorgonzola rounded out the menu.

A big thank you thank you thank you to Ouiser for sharing her caramel pecan pie. She wasn't kidding when she said it was perfect. Yummy, yummy. There are still two small pieces left and I've beenn holding back from eating them for breakfast with ice cream on top. Seriously, abandon whatever pecan pie recipe you have at home and copy this one and make it right away. Smooth, sweet, but not too sweet and just plain comforting.

'm watching J as I type. He just found another present... a box of wooden fruit and a wooden knife. He's thrilled. Thanks, Nummi. You should see the determination on his face right now. oops, he's been distracted by the phone. Never mind.

We're off to Tucson this weekend through New Year's Day. J is very excited to meet his "Cousa Biddy". I'm glad I looked at my ticket info again. About a month ago they changed our return flight from 11 am to 7 pm (right at bedtime, that should be interesting!). What I didn't realize was they changed our departure flight from 9:50 to 7:30. We would have missed that one.




Happy New Year everyone!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holly Jolly


This past week was crazy, but a lot of fun. B and I finished the touch ups on our red room and we're really happy with the results. Luckily we only had to do two coats. I'm looking forward to finding pillows and a rug to go along with our new look.

Zoe wonders what happened to all the white


My birthday was on Thursday. Even though I only turned 32, I managed to receive a ton of "you're getting old" cards and wishes. I think that made me more determined to feel younger than I do. I got to share the day with friends and B and I went out for a great adult dinner at one of our favorite restaurants over the weekend.

We had two Christmas parties as well. One was hosted by a pair of dentists who just built a ginormous home. It was lovely inside and we really had a terrific time, but you know what felt really good? Coming home to our home. It was so great to feel that yeah, their house was brand new and fabulous, but that we just love ours. I guess it really is shaping up to being a home.

B and I hosted the second party-- a cookie exchange/toddler play/cocktails soiree. We had a lot to do to get ready like put up our tree, which was a little stressful because I am very picky about trees and ours didn't seem like it had opened up much. After a few days of relaxing in our family room, I'm happy to report that the branches have fallen a bit and it looks so pretty!

J puts the first ornament on the tree with extreme care

The party was lots of fun. It was great to see everyone and exchange so many cookies. I made pizzelles, which was my first attempt. I used to work with a lady who made the most perfect pizzelles ever. They were always the same golden color and had a perfect shape-- no edges missing or anything. I named mine "Not quite perfect pizzelles" because even though they tasted good, they would never have held up to G's back in PA.

My first cookie attempt of the weekend was a chai shortbread cookie made with butter, powdered sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper and a couple of other things. They had a very pleasant flavor, but I kept burning the bottoms. This is the second time I've done that with cookies and I never burn anything. I guess I really need to bite the bullet and start using that convection button on my oven.

Santa was nice enough to stop by (no, that is not J, it's A), as was Miss Claus. Don't they look adorable? J had a great time as well, eating his weight in pepper and hummus. He also managed to sneak a few cookies off the table when nobody was looking.





Try these pomegranate martinis c/o Oprah if you have a get together or even if you don't. They are yummy and a little dangerous!
1.5 cups pom. juice
2 oz. citron vodka
1 oz. cointreau (maybe a little more)
splash of sparkling water (optional)
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice and serve! Sooo good.

Here's some very impressive news. We had our first sentence this weekend. It was..... (drum roll)

"Mommy get a pear. (pause) Now. (pause) Please."

We also played our first rhyming/memory game. I've been reading J "The Night Before Christmas". Our friend J gave us a board book with the original poem in it (no missing stanzas) and some really great Santa paintings as illustrations. I think I've read it about 10 times at the most. Yesterday J was holding the book and I was putting away laundry. I started reciting the story.. "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a ___________" J filled in mouse. So I kept going. "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be _______". J filled in there.
We did the whole story this way. He even filled in the word thistle. Of course it sounded liked "thisso", but who cares? I used to do this activity with kindergartners! I was blown away by this. I know it's all memory, but I was totally impressed by how much he remembered and how much he could say. It was pretty awesome. Little does he know he has just upped the reading anty.

Family starts arriving tomorrow for Christmas so we'll probably be out for awhile. I hope everybody has a great one, gets no coal in their stockings and is able to relax as much as possible. Oh and if you are traveling, be safe and get to the airport early. K, C and Z were taking their first family plane trip, missed their first flight because of heavy security and got rerouted to Pittsburgh by way of El Paso, Albuquerque, and Chicago with a bunch of layovers. Definitely not wanting that to happen to anyone else. Ho! Ho! Ho!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Come and Get Me, Cop-per

Lock me up and throw away the key. This mama got her first speeding ticket today. On her own street. With her kid in the car. Watch out Britney, I'm right behind you!

Seriously, I was just driving along, not feeling like I was in a rush or anything. As I turned the curve of the street, two men in uniforms and on motorcycles were waiting with what I swear were smiles on their faces. They waved on the van in front of me and ordered me to pull over. I tapped my chest, asking, "Me?" as if I were being chosen for a kickball team in gym class. I was shocked.

"Do you know the speed limit around here?" Umm...30 sounds good to me. (Honestly that's what I thought it was. Turns out it was 25.) "You were going 36 and following way too close to the car in front of you who was going the speed limit. That's why you had to slam on your breaks." I didn't recall slamming my breaks, but whatever you say, officer. I felt shame wash over me as I said, "I'm sorry." I thought being extra nice might help me out, but this guy had it in for me from the minute we made eye contact.

Now, I didn't do too well in high school physics and maybe my PhD whiz friend A can help me out here, but I swear I remember this exact question from Mr. K's class. If was allegedly going 36 and tailgating and the man in front of me was allegedly going 25 (the speed limit) wouldn't I have hit him instead of continue to follow him? So something is wrong. Either the van in front was not going the speed limit and he got off scott-free, but this made the officer's story make me more sound worse, or his radar was wrong.

I felt like an idiot that this happened. J thought it was fantastic. As I was pulling my license out, he was yelling, "Peesman Peesman Hi!" as if I had just brought someone over to play.

Since I've never been pulled over, I didn't know what happens. Turns out in Texas, you have 30 days to appear before a judge. You need to contact the judge to discuss a few things like whether you will plead guilty and pay the fine, plead not guilty and go to trial, plead guilty or no contest and take defensive driving and maybe get it wiped from your record. The offices were closed when this happened so I have to wait until tomorrow to figure out my fate. I'm thinking the latter will be the easiest. Maybe I'll hire one of those sleezy attorneys and get a trial date. Not. For those who maybe interseted, there are all sorts of books you can order off the internet about how to beat any speeding ticket.

So for today, be ashamed that you know me. I'm bad people. And believe me, now I'm driving like a granny, which is tough for a girl who grew up on Long Island.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Santa, Santa, Santa

We had a very eventful weekend! It started out with getting a Christmas tree. Then B and J took a quick trip to the store to get an extension cord. While they were there, Santa was visiting and was taking free photos. J knows who Santa is but has never actually seen him in person. I wish I would have seen it. B said he freaked out. They had to take the picture together. J looks thrilled because he has a candy cane in his hand. B looks like he's enjoying being on Santa's lap. Actually he wasn't on his lap, but they looked kind of cozy.

On the way home, B and J got caught behind a fire truck going through the neighborhood. J loves fire trucks. This one was a cherry picker and Santa was standing in it and was waving and throwing out candy. Not only did they follow the truck all the way to our house, but then he got to see it two more times as it made the rounds down the other streets. What an afternoon to be a kid! Unfortunately, J wanted the fire trucks to only stay at our house and he got upset when he could hear them but they didn't come back.


The fun didn't stop there. One of the parks was having a holiday festival with singers, bouncy castles and slides, train rides, and of course, Santa. J got to sit on Santa's lap. This time, he went up bravely and shook his hand. He also danced with Frosty the Snowman, who was rocking out to a little heavy metal, which J found hilarious. He was a bit unsure about Rudolph, whom he kept calling a donkey. The best part had to have been the bouncing castle and slides. The pictures describe it best.


A little calmer with Santa number 3
This reminds me of the scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie gets kicked down the slide
Don't you just want to bounce around and get that look on your face too?
We finished off the night with a little ice cream. J rewarded us by sleeping until 7:30 this morning. In between all the Santa fun, B and I finally got the first coat of paint on our family room. We are going to have to do at least one, if not two more coats. Red does not go on like any other color paint. It looks pretty good at night, but during the day you can see every single place we missed.

Today was a little more laid back. We decided not to paint today because it was so humid (it was 85 yesterday!) and we wanted to make sure everything was really dry. So we cleaned up the house a bit, did some laundry, met a new babysitter (yay!) and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at our neighbor's house. I made a lemon cake because I had fresh lemons from a friend's tree. While it was cooling and soaking in the lemon juice I went to do a few things on the computer. J came in saying something like, "mmm, yum." I wasn't really paying attention until he got closer to me. Then I realized he was saying, "Yummy cake mommy. Yummy." He had grabbed a big hunk off of the edge of the cake. Apparently he can reach to the middle of our island now. Oops. It was pretty funny. I'm glad our neighbors have grandkids and find J cute enough that they didn't mind a big hunk taken out of their dessert.

B and I start off with dentist appointments tomorrow. We can't wait!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Today's Vocabulary Lesson

Unless you are in the construction business and come across these all the time, I think you will be impressed with the objects J can now recognize.

Thanks to our new favorite book, Construction Zone , rubber-tired backhoe, crane with clamshell digger, tamper, paver, roller, and concrete mixer are as identifiable as a fire truck, bird, and daddy. It's really amazing. There are these little pictures at the end of the book with explanations of what each machine does, and J can pick out each of them without prompting. I think I knew bulldozer, paver and dump truck before this book came along!

That's all good. What is not good is that J has figured out that he can try to manipulate B and me. When things aren't going his way and he's with me, he calls "Dad-deee!" If he's with B, he shouts, "Mom-mee!" This has been occurring during the day, but also at fun hours like 2, 4, and 5 am. This morning he got so mad that I wouldn't get him out of bed at 5:15 that he sat there and screamed for B for about 30 minutes. Before that, he yelled for me. I'm sure we'll get him back on track just in time fore the holiday visitors to arrive!

We did some very exciting things this morning. We went to a propane store and bought blower. My mom and dad bought it for us as a housewarming gift and we had to pick out one that wasn't at Home Depot or Lowe's. We also went to the paint store and picked up the red for the family room. I am very excited about this project. It will be interesting to see how it turns out because some have told me they think the room will look too small, while others have told me that it may look too dark. I'm just going to do it and if it looks bad, we can always go back to white again. We'd also really like to scrape the popcorn ceiling, but that would be committing us to the entire downstairs because it would look funny to just stop in the family room and not do the kitchen, etc. etc. So I think we will leave that be for now.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quiet House

Things are getting back to normal at the S house now that Thanksgiving visitors are all gone. J got a dose of two sets of grandparents with back to back visits. He had a blast and I think they did too, but now it's back to reality. Snacks on a schedule, sleep on a schedule, not always getting our way. It's gonna be great!

J's come down with a bit of a cold which has been waking him up at all sorts of times during the night. His face is a mess and he's only breathing out of his mouth, so he's also drooling all over the place. Plus it's so much fun to try to wipe his face. There's not way to do it without screaming.
One of the highlights of J's Nummi's visit was that we got our garage organized. Nummi is a super fantastic garage organizer and this is her second time helping us in two years. Everything now has a place on a shelf (except for those dental and teaching books which are awaiting a shelf or two inside) and we can actually fit cars in there. Imgaine that. It's very exciting. Now we can move onto more fun projects like painting the family room (red) and putting up Christmas lights. The next few weeks are going to be fun! Although I don't think B shares my enthusiasm about either endeavor, but I am sure he will appreciate the final product.

I didn't really get any good Thanksgiving shots because I was in the kitchen all day, but here is a shot of J providing us with some post dinner entertainment. He was wearing his Babcia's shoes and clomping all over the floor.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ehh...

Dinner is over. The turkey came out great. It was incredibly moist and looked golden and beautiful. We brined the turkey last night with brown sugar, salt, water, oranges, lemons, rosemary and thyme. Then we cooked it by stuffing it with oranges, lemons, onions, and rubbing the orange and butter, and pepper on the outside. The recipe said only to cover it if it started to look brown quickly and this happened after about 1 minute, so it got foiled and only took about 2.5 hours to cook, which is pretty fast for a 16 lb. turkey. That was at 425 degrees.

I made the stuffing yesterday because I wanted to see exactly how long it would take. I'm glad I didn't just try this on Thanksgiving because I am sure it would have been a disaster time-wise. The chestnut and apple stuffing was yummy! The chestnuts really give the stuffing a meaty flavor. I'm used to stuffing made with sausage, but I didn't miss the meat at all. And the fact that it was made with day old baguette instead of bagged stuffing cubes made all the difference. Now don't get me wrong, I still like the bagged stuffing cubes too, but this got so crunchy on top with all the butter. Yum. If only I hadn't sliced my finger while peeling the cooked chestnuts, this would have been fairly simple to make, but it took double the time because I had to work with one hand for awhile.

Now the disappointment was the gravy. It was a cointreau and cognac pan gravy. I doubled the recipe because it looked like I had double the drippings. Everything looked the way it was supposed to, but boy was it salty! You could tell it had some really good depth of flavor, but the salt just overpowered everything. I'm not sure if this was because the turkey was overbrined, which if it was, didn't affect the turkey, or if it was because the chicken broth I added along with the fact that it was brined just made it that way. Either way, I'm in a conundrum about what to do for Thursday. Not sure if we should brine the turkey less, use no sodium chicken broth and try again, or if I should just try a different gravy entirely? Any wisdom would be appreciated!

I should make mention that although this brined turkey was incredibly moist, I don't think it was any more moist than the turkey my mom makes, which is not brined and is cooked at 450 under foil, stuffed, and just coated in butter. I'm also debating if I should just do that instead. So as you can see, this dry run was good, but hasn't really helped me figure out my Thanksgiving menu!

Hummus Hat?

Here is a sentence I never thought I would hear myself say,

"J, please don't touch your Santa hat right now. You'll give yourself hummus hat."

That's what you have to say when your kid sits to eat his snack, asks for his new Santa hat, and continues to eat his red peppers and hummus.


This weekend is a cleaning weekend as well as a Thanksgiving dry run. I'm making a new stuffing and doing the turkey differently, so I wanted to make sure it works out well before I subject my guests to it. I made the chesnut and apple stuffing last night. It tastes great, but we'll see how it goes with the turkey and gravy that are cooking right now. I'll let you know!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

But There are Three More Months Until He Is Two

The phrase "terrible twos" is a misnomer. For anyone that does not know, it starts earlier. Much earlier. Like 8 months earlier as they begin down the path closer to two-dom. Well yesterday we hit some major roadblock or something because it was just awful. There were no "Watch out! Terrible two behavior approaching!" warning signs either. It began at lunchtime when I couldn't get the milk out fast enough. WaaaahhhhHH!!! milk! Milk! Milk! MiiiilllllK!!!! It continued after a shortened nap because of the garbage trucks (stupid, blankety blank garbage trucks!). The pinnacle was at dinnertime. J asked for a fork, which we always give him, and a spoon. I suspect he wanted the fork for his meat and the spoon for his beans. Well somewhere along the line I did something wrong. He kept asking for help. I thought he wanted help scooping the beans on his spoon, but when I did that, he went psycho on me and started screaming at the top of his lungs. So I let go of the spoon. He grabbed his plate, turned it over on his tray and picked up every bean that he could and proceeded to squeeze them in his hand while he screamed. He kept yelling "help! help! help!" I had no idea. I tried again to help with the fork and spoon. This time, he threw what was left on his tray onto the floor. This was just about the time that daddy walked in. He got all excited, "Dad-deeee!! Daddeee!" Are you kidding me? Oh no kid, you just put me through hell all day. Daddy's going to hear about this. Daddy didn't have to hear about it because he saw it all over the floor. He held down the urge to laugh. We eventually got J to clean up his mess without tears. That was the success of the day.

We figured an earlier bedtime would help calm him down and set him up for a better mood tomorrow morning. The one problem was that he decided to wake up every thirty minutes from 2 until 4:30. At that point I threw in the towel and just took him into the spare bedroom to sleep with me. He talked to himself for nearly an hour as I lay there not saying word. "Pee pee...poop (I changed his diaper so I knew he was clean). poop...pee...punter (hunter the dog down the street) amy (ambulance) choo choo (the train went by... stupid blankety blank train) daddy, mama, mommy, seepy, seepy, Jo-nah, jo-nah, jo-nah (well go to sleep J, it will help fix that!). After getting kicked in the face a few times, clobbered on the stomach, he finally collapsed on me and slept until 7. I think I slept for about 3.5 hours last night.

I then took care of a three month old this morning for four hours, which confused the heck out of J. He kept looking at me like, "Where did she come from?" He handled it fairly well. Her mom swore she was an angel. Except she has a cold, wouldn't take a bottle, and didn't want to be in her sling or swing, which she supposedly loves. It all ended well, but I am so glad these two days are over. We are hoping for a very silent night tonight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Baby Fix

I'd become a weepy mess before and after my little niece was born. My patient husband, wanting to make me happy, and more than likely hoping the weepiness would end quickly, suggested that I use miles to go to AZ to visit the new little one! This meant he would take care of J for three days on his own. He was a little panicked about this, but I left him a few lists and reassured him that he'd have a great, but tiring time.

I arrived on Saturday morning and returned home very late last night/early this morning. I'm so glad I was able to go. Lily is the most darling baby. Her cheeks are even more adorable in person. She makes tons of different scrunchy faces. She only cries a little when hungry or wet. And she doesn't quite have the pee/poop at the same time down yet, so we had lots of fun changing many diapers! It was so great to see Mama Feathernester and Papa D in action. Although they are very tired from constant nighttime feedings due to some lingering day/night confusion, they still look terrific. It was also tons of fun hanging out with Mama Scarlet Lily and talking about everything baby with her. Together, we solved all the breastfeeding issues of the world and told labor and baby stories like we were in the army. Poor Chewy-- the dog doesn't know what to do with himself. He has so much puppy energy that he ate a whole bottle of lanolin out of boredom and proceeded to throw it up. The last thing new parents need! We tried to get him out and running as much as we could, but he was still trotting all over the place, trying to lick Lily any chance he could. Of course the best part was holding Lily and smelling that new baby smell all over. Mom and Dad are doing great, but are focusing on sleep rather than email and phone calls, so here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

Papa D really enjoys forcing his daughter to make all sorts of faces. She'll get him back one day for all of this taunting!

Content Mama and Baby

A cozy place to sleep--that is a burp rag covering her! So tiny...



The happy family

Peeking over Mama Scarlet Lily's shoulder

Proud Auntie, no longer weepy

Wide awake and ready to take on the world!






Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Election Day!

A day late in the posting, but J loved going to vote yesterday. He kept trying to push the buttons on the computer screen. Then he tried to steal about 10 "I voted" stickers. The polling volunteers thought he was a hoot, especially when he started squealing because he thought I was taking too long. Doesn't he know that it takes awhile to vote on 16 propositions? He was thrilled that he got to leave with two stickers. And one of them ended up like this. I swear that there was no adult manipulation of the stickers to take this picture:

Nothing exciting is going on today. It's cloudy and in the fifties, which means that everyone has hunkered down for the arctic freeze. Except for us. We'll probably be the only ones at the park again today and we won't be wearing any hats and mittens like I saw some people wearing yesterday. Now that's thin blood.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hooray!

The baby is here! Congrats to S/D and sweet little L. For pics and all the stats, check out here. Of course, she is the sweetest thing ever! J is very excited to have a cousin, but can't quite say her name. He tries, but then he just laughs. He enjoys looking at her pictures and says, "baby, baby" and blows kisses at the screen. We can't wait to kiss those cute chubby cheeks in person!

B, J and I participated in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure yesterday. There were over 21,000 walkers and runners. We decided on Saturday that we would do it and went downtown to register. Then we were up practically all night with the excitement of the baby, but we did it anyway. We ran as much as we could, but it was so crowded on the streets and the stroller made it even more difficult to get around people. J was happy in the jogging stroller and loved it when B ran in and out of people. He also loved all the free food they were giving away. At one point after the race, he was dancing around to the music with an orange in one hand and an apple in the other. He was totally loving life.

Oh, and all of a sudden he can count to 15. We've been counting going down the steps each morning, but now he just randomly counts anything and everything. It's too funny. Of course he doesn't completely get the concept that one number goes to each object; he counts about 3 or 4 for each one.

Off to dinner. Have a good night!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Waiting

My SIL, feathernester is in labor! This is very exciting because it means I'm going to be an auntie very soon! I've never been an auntie and since they are having a girl, I hopefully will be a cool auntie that gets to totally spoil her. As much as her parents allow, of course. I've always said that I think I am only going to have boys and that if I do have a girl I will be totally shocked. As far as we know right now things were going very, very slowly to the point of boredom (they've been at the hospital since about 2 this morning). I joked to B that I felt like I was more excited about this baby being born than I was about my own. He said, "That's because you were sitting around in pain the whole time and you couldn't be excited!"

It really is amazing how pregnancy and labor is different for everyone. Out of all of my friends here, each of us has a completely different birth story. Some knew they wanted epidurals right away and they didn't work and had to do things the old fashioned way. Others wanted to do it the old fashioned way and ended up having c-sections. Some were incredibly long labors while others were only a few hours. And of the friends who have already had more than one, even those births were completely different each time. I guess it's nature's way of keeping you on your toes.

We can't wait for this little one to make her appearance! Keep your fingers crossed that all goes smoothly for everyone!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Yep. That's some dog.

I am still in shock that this actually happened. That there are actually people like this on the planet.

J and I were picking up bread and yogurt at the grocery store. As I was walking around our checkout counter, a highschool/early college age kid nearly collides with me because he was speeding on the back of his cart. If I didn't stop J would have had a cart in his shoulder (I was carrying him). He ignored us and kept going so I said, "Excuse me." I'm sure that excuse me had some force behind it. He said, "Excuse yourself, lady." I know my face went beat red and the mama bear said, "What did you just say to me?" He said, "You heard me." I said, "You nearly ran into both of us." He told me to shut up. I told him he was rude. Then, this is the best, he said, "Yeah. And you're fat and that's some dog you're carrying." Is your tongue hanging out of your mouth? Can you believe someone raised a child to be so hateful? I was so disgusted and shocked that I just walked to the car as he and his friend high-fived and laughed as they rode away on the back of the shopping cart towards their car. What I really wished I could have done was dragged him by his ear to his mother's house and stood him on the front porch and make him repeat what he said to me. This is what we're up against, considerate, polite people. It's gonna be a rough road ahead.
To make up for such an awful story, here's a random cute pic of "the dog" to brighten your mood a bit.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Treat

Halloween was a blast yesterday. J and I started out the day by attending a fall festival put on by the town. It was geared towards toddler and preschoolers, so they had little games at their height levels, a small petting zoo (we got to touch a baby hedgehog!), a hayride, and a fire truck. Best of all-it was free! I am continuously impressed by all of the family oriented festivals we find in and around Austin. So much fun.

J pretends not to hear the firechief tell him it's time to get off the truck

We weren't sure what to expect on our block once evening arrived. In the past 6 years we have never had a trick or treater come to our door (that's what happens when you live in apartments) so we were ready! I planned for a bunch of trick or treaters because one of the neighbors said we would be swamped living on the corner. It didn't start out that way, but once things got rolling, we had a stream of kids and I was glad I bought that extra bag of candy at Costco. One of the houses a few doors down put on this massive UFO/alien production. They built a spaceship that hung over their driveway. They also built a gigantic treehouse like structure for the aliens, complete with glow in the dark heads, to land. They rigged up a speaker system and had alien music playing. When kids went up the driveway, they yelled things like, "Bring us the children. We want the candy...Load up the ship, clearly there is no intelligent life here." If I were a young child I probably would have been scared out of my gourd. It really was neat to hear all howls and screams from the kids as they attempted to trick or treat there! B said he wants to try to beat them next year. I have my doubts and think we should just aim to put up some decorations.

J visited a few houses with B as I handed out the loot. He tells me that J loved knocking on the door and saying, "Treat" to everyone. If they had something on their porch that talked, like a pumpkin or skeleton, he said, "no, no no". Poor kid has something against inanimate objects coming to life. I can't say I blame him. J also helped pass out some treats with me before headed to bed just a little later than usual. I thought the noise from the house down the street would keep him up, but it didn't.

There was no way we were keeping that lion head on him today, but he did still do a heck of a cowardly "roar".

I guess there is a Halloween curfew because all the noise stopped at 9:00 and we had one or two stragglers after that who got all of our leftover candy. They were pretty psyched by that. If Halloween was such a production, I'm really interested to see what people do for the Christmas season!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Do You Mean There is No Off Button?

Here are some examples of how our days now sound...

On Sunday morning...
(J wakes up):Stacy, Sean, Casey, Ka Ka, Zane, Corbih, Kay Kay, Paatee...

Me: Did you have a good time at the party yesterday?

J: Yah

Me: Did you dream about the party?
J: Yah

J: truck, choo choo, fiy chuck, cyca, choppa, vroom, choo choo, hopper..eat, oatmo.



Today in the car on the way to a store five minutes away...

"witch (pronounced with a b instead of a w), one, two, ghost, two, socca, socca, kick, dada
(he sees people playing soccer, they kick, daddy plays soccer) awsif awsif (office, office- meaning daddy is at the office if he's not playing soccer) punka, punka (pumpkin) gan, gan, gan (again, again, again) more, more more, (he wants more ghosts, witches and pumpkins) car go (car wash), Rosa, Rosa (name of a Mexican restaurant), munch (lunch), goat, neigh, neigh, moo, moo, sheep, sheep, sing, sing, pease, pease, (play that song again please or I will scream), see ba ba, see ba ba (cereal bar, cereal bar-- give me one now or I will really scream) see ba baaaaaaaaaa, see ba baaaaaaaaaa."

I didn't give him the cereal bar.



Later... at the park...

under, under, sirrl (squirrel), nuts, nuts, tee, up, up, tee, sky, arpane, arpane, gamma? (Is Grandma in the airplane?) see, see, sing (swing), kick, kick, out, off, jump, side (slide), oof-oof...end first two minutes at the park.

Do you have a headache yet?

Sure, all this talking is fabulous and cute, but this newfound ability to repeat and announce everything he sees leaves us with very little silence.

We spend the rest of our time trying to decipher the new words he is trying out. Somtimes they make absolutely no sense. The word "botch" has about 13 different meanings to him and I haven't a clue.

The word we are really afraid of popping up is "Why?"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

And the winners are...

SWAT had their second annual Halloween party at S's house this afternoon. S is a bit fanatical about Halloween and goes to great lengths to decorate and plan a great party. She really outdid herself this year. It was a beautiful day so the kiddos were able to spend a lot of time playing outside. She built and painted a pumpkin toss set, a worms, teeth and eyes feeling set, and a ghost cut-out set. She also had a hay bale and pumpkin area for family photos. This girl thinks of everything!

K and J. K is dressed as a peacock and didn't crack a smile all day.

J was in true party form and spent most of his time eating and his free time playing. He wanted to eat all of the pumpkin muffins I brought, but he also enjoyed some grilled cheese and apple sandwich slices as well as some of the pumpkin chili I made. It seemed to get good reviews so here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Chili:
1lb. Ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onions (I used more)
1 large red or green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can packed pumpkin
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 cup loose-pack frozen whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
I also added a teaspoon or so of pumpkin pie spice, which gave it a great smell and about another quarter can of pumpkin. The pumpkin acts as a thickener, so the more you add, the thicker your chili will be.
In a large saucepan, cook onions, garlic and peppers until soft. Add turkey and cook on medium high heat until brown, drain. Add everything else. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or more. Be careful not to burn the bottom by having the heat on too high.

There was a vote for best dressed family and guess what? We won! No, we weren't the only family that dressed up. The prize was a skeleton trophy. When J's friend K handed him the trophy as her mom announced us as the winners, he uttered, "No! No! No!" He was terribly frightened by the trophy and didn't want to win! Everyone said that he was just being humble. B and I joked that we finally had a chance to be popular and our kid was ruining it for us!

It was so great to see everybody. There were some babies there that I hadn't seen in nearly a year. It's amazing how much growing happens in so little time. More pics on Halloween!



Redemption

This post is for my darling SIL, who is waiting to go into labor and lovingly branded me with a faint scarlet letter F for giving her a starter of friendship bread. I am in the midst of experimenting with the measurements to take away the friendship part of the bread and will let you know what I find out. In the meantime, here's a pumpkin muffin recipe that I just made and is so good! You only have to make it once! I made them into mini muffins and only put cinnamon sugar on half of them (forgot in the first batch). J was stealing them and stuffing them in his mouth, so I think that is a good sign. Very moist and fluffy for a muffin. I added the whole can of pumpkin as well, figuring you couldn't go wrong with too much. I would imagine you could use applesauce instead of oil, but I didn't have any. Oh, and I only baked the mini muffins for about 13 minutes. 12 may be just enough as well. Enjoy!



http://muffintop.wordpress.com/2006/11/03/pumpkin-muffins/



I have a pumpkin chili cooking right now that we're taking to a party later on. If it gets good reviews, I'll post that as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halloween Practice

We had a little Halloween party at the library during story hour today. The library has about 5 different Halloween parties and you can sign up for whatever ones you want to attend. I decided we'd go to the one today because it was food free. Since J doesn't eat "party foods" I really didn't see the point in going to one that would be a giant mish mosh of prepackaged cookies and candy. He doesn't know that part about Halloween and I'm happy to keep it that way for a little longer. Instead of food, we were to bring 30 stickers, pencils, or other treats to put in little bags that the library provided. J got quite the stash of straws, stickers, spider rings and little pads.

I didn't think we would last long because J was a little taken back by the pirate libarians and the witch and skeleton story props that were in the front of the room. He also didn't know what to make of the larger crowd that was there today. We've been walking around the neighborhood quite a bit to see the pumpkin and witch decorations. He likes those. Ghosts don't bother him much either. I can see why the skeleton doesn't look quite right to him. But after singing a great little song today called, "Mr. Bones" I think they're breaking him in a bit. Ha ha ha.

Once he got used to his surroundings, J had a blast. He loved visiting with the other kids and participating in the songs and stories. He didn't want to leave when it was time and even said thank you to the librarians as we left (without me telling him!). Such a thoughtful lion.

I'd post pictures, but I am sure we'll get cuter ones this weekend when we go to another party. The whole family is dressing up, so we'll see.

We're finally cooling off down here. On Monay the temperature dropped about 30 degrees to a high of 56. It felt bone chilling cold because of the wind. J didn't want to wear long sleeves because I don't think he's worn them since April. Today it's in the 70s and I'm wearing long sleeves. We even turned the heat on a bit last night to take the edge off. Clearly the blood is thinning. It is finally nice to have some fall around here, though.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Good Times

B's birthday was a success. The vodka sauce turned out great, but it took me almost 3 hours to make it and it was only supposed to take a little over 1. I was being really careful not to burn that heavy cream when I reduced it. Turns out, I could have left it alone a little more. J just loved watching the candles burn on the ice cream cupcakes. There were only two candles because I had a heck of a time getting them through the frozen whipped cream. Check out this shot of the two of them. They aren't related or anything, are they?

I also had a hankering for fall the other day and made some pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies with cream cheese frosting. Actually the recipe is in a Christmas cookie book, but they looked too good to wait until then to make. This recipe was interesting. It said it would make 6 dozen cookies, which is usually your standard chip cookie product. I ended up with over 9 dozen. And I lost about 2 dozen due to accidental burnage on the first trays (still getting used to the double oven). I was also using evaporated cane sugar. Anyone baked with that before? It seems to burn a little more than refined sugar. I had little spoltches of cooked sugar (not quite burned) on the bottom of many of the cookies. Anyway, they tasted like little bits of pumpkin heaven. I would recommend halving the recipe. Oh and make your own cream cheese frosting instead of the icky store bought stuff. I'll try to post this sometime later.



A funny thing happened with these cookies. I was trying to frost them while they were still warm. I remember turning off the oven for the last tray. I thought I frosted everything and began to clean up, got distracted by finished laundry, and went to bed. I went to use the top oven two days later and what did I find? A cooked batch of cookies that I left behind. Oops. The neat thing was that they hardened into a really good biscuit-like cookie. The originals are better, but it was neat that although I forgot about them, they were still pretty tasty.

We took a scenic drive yesterday to Marble Falls to visit Sweetberry Farms. They were having a fall festival with plenty of pumpkins, hay and pony rides, pumpkin ice cream and goats. Poor J wanted to get in the pen with the goats since that's what he's allowed to do when he visits Nummi's farm in California. He also called every goat he saw Suzi, after Nummi's goat who is no longer with us. Unfortunately J doesn't know that, so every goat is Suzi. I think we need a Suzy 2 at the farm in CA. J had a great time banging on pumpkins, riding on the kiddie sized tractor, checking out the old fashioned trucks filled with pumpkins, running around with other little ones, and tasting some of that pumpkin ice cream. In fact, there was so much excitement that not only did he sleep in the car, but he also slept for another two hours when we got home.




After naptime we headed over to the Hairy Man Festival at one of the parks in the neighborhood. The legend of the Hairy Man is pretty lame, something about a baby left in the woods, grows up all hairy and tries to keep the western settlers from taking the land by the creek. Today the festival collects canned food for local food banks and raises funds for the children's homes in the area. There was live music, ponies, jumping castles, crafts, a train, and plenty of food. And yes, there is a hairiest man contest. If I'd known about that, I would have made B enter, but there's always next year. We were actually pleasantly surprised by how nice the festival was, as we'd been told it wasn't so great. J loved riding the train. I think we did that about 5 times. He tried going in a jumping castle, but slid right out. I think he was just so tired from everything else he did.

Today we just spent most of the day outside. There was a wonderful breeze and it was so comfortable outside. We did some yardwork, played at the park, went for a wagon ride and took a long nap. Not a bad way to end the weekend!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Birthday Prepping

I took J on a little culinary tour this morning of an Italian market and one of the fancier schmancier grocery stores in Austin. We were on a mission to get ingredients for B's birthday dinner tomorrow night. The old man turns 33. As he puts it, he's 1/3 through with his life, which when he told me that, I freaked out on him for being so half empty. I mean, who thinks about dying on their birthday anyway? He followed up with, "Look how much I've done in 1/3 of it. Imagine what I can do in the next 2/3." Okay, you're excused. Good point.

J and I encountered some happy people for a change. One was a counterperson at the market who didn't charge us for the single sesame seed cookie I was going to buy to give to J. It took such will-power to get just one and then to give it to my son and just take a teeny tiny nibble! This place smelled like heaven. There was a hint of garlic in the air-- not the overpowering kind you get at a wanna be Italian restaurant. The bread area smelled so fresh that I wanted to bring every loaf home with me. J cracked me up the entire time by yelling, "Mar-ket!" down each aisle. I think that's what won us the free cookie.

We also scored some free toppings from another little ice cream shop. I'm making ice cream cupcakes and was on a hunt for crunchies from my childhood ice cream cakes. When I found them and asked if I could buy some, the salesperson just gave them to me. I consider that my reward for waving on all those people who don't thank me back! B is not a gigantic dessert eater and requested an ice cream cake for his cake. But, I know he will complain that there is just too much left and he doesn't want to eat it all, so I thought about making a smaller version. I thought I was being all creative, but then I found out that some of the ice cream stores have begun stocking them wtih their ice cream cakes. I thought about buying them, but decided to have some fun. I can't wait to try them.

We're cooking Pennette Ala Vodka for dinner, which should be interesting. It's a recipe from Rao's Italian Restaurant (famous in Harlem and now also found at Caesar's Las Vegas.). It calls for a quart of heavy cream reduced in half. That should be fun to do with a toddler running around. I hope I can avoid burning it or everything will be ruined. I can't believe B wanted some thing so rich, but we'll give it a shot and see how it goes.

Oh, this should get me the bad mommy of the year award. A few days ago I was getting dinner ready. J loves when I chop things. He runs around slapping his legs when I smash garlic, or he yells, "Chop, chop, chop, cut, cut, cut". I decided to let him practice cutting too. He has a play knife that came with his play basket of fruit and I only let him use that when he is strapped in his chair (don't want to give the impression that running with knives is okay). I gave him an onion to "chop". Usually he peels a couple of layers and puts it in his pot and that's it. Today he decided to bite it a few times (and was a little surprised at what he got). That wasn't the worst part. After peeling way more layers than I realized, he touched his eyes. The minute I saw his hands go up to his face, I knew. And then the tears came, followed by, "Eyes! Eyes!" I felt so horrible. We scrubbed his hands and washed his face. I distracted him with some bubbles and he was fine. We all know that onions can burn, but can you imagine how it probably felt to him? I felt so bad. Well, next time I will give him something like a potato or celery.

I'll be sure to let you know how dinner goes and post some pics of the old man on his birthday.

Friday, October 05, 2007

You're It!

I wish I had pictures or video of this fantastic first, but unfortunately, I don't. B, J and I were at the park across the street this afternoon. We met some people who live down the street, C, L, and their darling 5 year old granddaughter, C. J was very intrigued by little C and wanted to do everything she did. We had to put him on the swings because she was swinging. She squealed "Weeee," J squealed back. Of course his attention span lasted about 2 minutes and then he was onto something else, but C wanted to continue this interaction. She followed B and J as they explored the sunken rock area of the park and made it over to the kiddie slide/steering wheel area. This is where J's first game of tag took place.

It just sort of happened. J was happy going down the slide, but when he saw C coming over, he immediately got excited and began running around the playscape as he yelled, "Oh oh!" Giggles and squeals erupted and the quick movement of gravel gave away each of their attempts at being sneaky. B helped J tag C a couple of times and he kept yelled "Touch you!" It was the sweetest thing. He was absolutely exhausted and almost fell down the slide face first because he was trying so hard to catch up to her/get away from her that his legs were actually giving out on him! J has played tag like this with adults before, but never another child. It was so much fun because it was kid-initiated and we just watched and laughed. A very good sign of things to come. Who knew that J could keep up with the older girls?

Tonight B and I shared some yummy Greek food from a restaurant not too far from here. We hadn't had any in many months, so we ordered way too much and have plenty of leftovers. We also unpacked our books, put childproof latches on our TV stand so that we can actually use the drawers to hold dvds without them being emptied everyday, and broke down several boxes that have been cluttering the dining room. We still have a long list of things to do this weekend, but we were productive in a short amount of time, which was good. Also exciting and unexpected today was a Friday morning garage sale where I picked up a Lego table that converts to a blackboard table, wipe board table, and town map for cars table for only $6! There are 3 more community garage sales tomorrow. I'm going to try to get out really early and look for a dark wood bookshelf for our bedroom and some other good kid buys.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Why is it that my almost 20 month old can sign thank you to the cashier every time we are in a store without prompting (I think he hears me say thank you and then signs to participate), but the three grown-ups I waved on today at separate stop signs cannot offer the same courtesy? This drives me absolutely crazy; not just in the car, but anywhere. Is it too difficult to put your hand up as a gesture of gratitude as you pass by?
Or how about this... You almost have a head on collision with someone turning the corner in the grocery store. You say excuse me. They keep going. Ugh! You offer another person the chance to get ahead of you in line because they have way fewer items than you. And they barge ahead without a word. Or when you hold a door for someone, with child in tow and not only do they not say thank you, but they just walk through the door without grabbing it! What is it with people these days? This didn't all happen today, but it happens much more often than it should. Were these people never taught manners when they were younger, or have they just become so numb to the world and their actions that they don't even know what they are doing? I'm sure these people are just busy like the rest of us, but it's the little things that make a big difference. And not using simple manners just makes me so mad! Not publicly mad-- I mean it would be so easy to just yell at all of them and tell them how rude they are, but that would be just adding to the problem. It makes me even more determined to raise a polite, sensitive child who understands that it doesn't take much of an effort to be just that if you really think about it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Little Adventures

J and I took a little drive to New Braunfels yesterday morning. It's about an hour and fifteen minutes away. We went to have a quick visit with Cousin M, who is visiting from Geneva by way of Seattle. His sister, Cousin D, just had a baby on Wednesday. Sweet little L clocked in at well over 8 pounds and 22 inches! Wow! Quite the linebacker! Anyway, off we headed south after the rush hour traffic. We passed by the San Marcos outlets, so I taught J how to say "outlets". It was something like "outlas". There was a gigantic county fair going on so we had to take the scenic route around town to get to our destination. Our visit was quick, but involved a trip to a great park so J could play and we could chat. J also had fun exploring the design shop M was working at and leaving a few marks on some decorative apples that looked oh so real. Maybe the teeth marks will make them look more authentic?
It was great to see M even if it was only for a short while. We are hoping that we will get to see him a little longer on his next trip to TX!

I was hoping the sleep gods would work in my favor on the drive home so that I could make a quick stop at the outlets and let J nap in the stroller. Unfortunately he fell asleep after drinking his milk, which was about 2.5 seconds after we got into the car. It was probably better we didn't stop, as the temptation to spend is just too great there.

I had a special treat this morning. I got to sleep in until 7:30 and at about that time, B and J prepared to meet C, Z, T, and S (translation: daddies and kiddos) for breakfast and some morning playtime at the playground and splash park. The idea was to give the moms a little time off to do whatever while they got together for some father/son/friend bonding time.

I used the time to hit some garage sales. Two neighborhoods were having community garage sales, so I got to a bunch of houses. I'm not a broken in garage saler, so I only made it through one neighborhood, but I was pleased with my little stash. I picked up some books, some foam play mat tiles, an automatically inflatable, portable booster seat (this is really neat and I got it for $5), some stacking buckets with opposite pictures and words printed on each side, and a wooden shape toy. I missed out on a garden shovel and a hose roller, both of which we need, but I was too slow on the first one, and the sellers wouldn't budge on their price on the other and I figured I could get a better one new compared to what they wanted. I ended the morning with some coffee, a scone, and a little relaxation time before the boys headed home. I hope they decide to do this more often!
J and I are on our own this evening and probably for a large chunk of tomorrow. B is meeting his brother D in Van Horn, TX (about halfway between here and Tucson) so that B can give D our baby stuff that they wanted to borrow. It seemed so silly to have them buy all new stuff when ours is in perfectly good condition and is just sitting around in our garage waiting for kid number 2. So if you hear of any goings on in Van Horn tomorrow on the news, it's probably because the two boys got a little crazy and shook things up a bit. I mean, you never know what can happen when B tries to take food off of D's plate (chewed or unchewed).




Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Budding Socialite

I had my first taste of the Junior League today. Well, sort of. B signed me up for the Capital Area Dental Alliance, which is a fancy way of saying "a dental wives club." The first meeting of the year was at the home of another endodontist (that's a root canal dentist to those of you not familiar with all those different types of "ists" out there). They meet monthly to work on volunteer projects in and out of the dental community and also have social functions. Today's meeting was a potluck dinner ( I made that lemon cake again!) with a speaker from a local volunteer organization that helps seniors who live alone in their own homes so that they can stay in their homes as long as possible. This includes providing transportation to the grocery store and doctor's appointments, completing small fix-it jobs around the house, and calling them just to check in and make sure everything is okay. Aside from providing them with a donation, we discussed ways to help this group this year. The alliance also has a scholarship fund set up for dental hygienists and provides assistance during various charity dental events set up around the Austin area. Socially, the next meeting is a trip to Neiman Marcus to view their fall fashion line along with lunch. I'm not sure if I'll make that one because it's during the day and we don't have a babysitter that is not in high school and I don't think I am at the Neiman Marcus age (or price range) yet. I'm trying to be as polite as possible with that wording to any of you who may be around my parents' age or so... :) There is a wine tasting trip planned in a few months, so I will defintely try to go to that in addition to helping out where I can at some volunteer events.

We have officially moved into our house and things are still in the unpacking phase. I'd say we're about half-way done. Mom is still here on toddler patrol. My dad also surprised us for the weekend to help out and showed up on Friday. He was a big help to B doing all of the "manly" things around the house like unloading the truck that I finally convinced him we get instead of making ten zillion trips back and forth, and hooking up the washer and dryer. There was also some master caulking involved, as well as some grandpa babysitting time, where my dad taught J how to dance like a penguin. I have some video of it, which is hysterical, but I have no idea how to get it here. Too tired to try right now, sorry.

Tomorrow will involve more unpacking and possibly a final trip to the splash park for J before it closes for the season. One of the things I don't get about living down here is that it is warm for such a large part of the year, yet the swim season is only May through the end of September. I suppose it's a cost thing, but when it's 90 degrees in October, it would be nice to be able to go somewhere to cool off. I surely won't be complaining when it's warm here and snowing elsewhere, though!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Aargh!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I heard this on the radio while we were driving to pick up my mom from the airport. J and I aarghed a little bit. His aargh was more like, "aahhh" but the sentiment was there, I'm sure. I don't know how days like this get started and I am sure there is information on this out there somewhere, but it just made me chuckle.

Sadly, all that aarghing reminded me of something I found out this week which other Colgaters might like to know. Rusty Jacobs, founder of Woods Tea Company, died back in August of a heart attack. I found out when I went to the band's website to check on their tour schedule. We were lucky to see them back in Feb. when they came through Texas. B and I never missed a show while we were at Colgate and seeing them after being out of school for 10 years made it seem little time had passed at all. Rusty laughed and aarghed back at us when we aarghed at the band after a song. He recalled some of their visits to Colgate with us as we chatted with him during intermission. We've been listening to their CD tonight as we pack up stuff as a little tribute. B and I felt bad because even though we didn't know him personally, we felt like we did know him through his music and his shows. I'm not really sure how to end a paragraph like this, so I'm just going to say thank you for all of the great music, Rusty. Aargh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Denial

We only got the second coat done on 2 of the 4 walls last night, so we are working on finishing that tonight. While B does that I am trying to begin packing. That's right. Begin. As in, I haven't started and we are moving on Friday. I keep telling myself we have plenty of time. My mom comes tomorrow and everything will be fine because we'll have babysitting round the clock. I'm beginning to think I am in denial.


So, as a way to avoid the fact that we have way too much work that can be done, I'm thinking about other things. Like Halloween. I know it's random, but I was looking at one of the pics on our fridge and kept trying to think of something cool for Jonah to be this year. Last year was so much fun. How can you beat this?

It's not that I have a major desire for my son to have to take down other kids to have a good time, but this was one of the best shots taken last year by any of our friends. I mean, how many people can say that their kid (dressed as a shark) took out a super hero? No worries, it all happened a lot more gentler than it appears. That shark costume was way too much fun. I loved that tail. I wish it still fit J because I would just dress him in it again this year.

Anybody have any ideas of what he could be? I'd love a whale costume, but the only one I can find has the whale part sticking out around the middle and I think he would just be bumping into stuff all the time. I'd love a creative costume, but unfortunately it has to be something I can throw together without sewing or it has to be store bought. This is what happens when you have no sewing talent.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Handsome

J got a haircut this morning. I was a little nervous about how this would go because he screamed and cried through the whole thing last time. However, one of his lift and flap books has a picture of a barber and he loves that one. He says, "Bar Bar" and then grabs his hair and says, "Sip sip" for snip snip. As we got in the car this morning to run to the post office, he kept saying barber, so I figured, why not.

The key to the haircut place is getting there right when it opens. Last time we go there at 10:05 and had to wait over 20 minutes. This time we were first and J was able to get right in the chair. He's not a big fan of the cape and he whined a bit at that. When the stylist offered him some animal crakers, she became his new best friend. He willingly got into the chair and only whined a bit when she first started around his ears. All in all, it was quick and he totally looks like a little boy now.

Not so shaggy anymore

In crib news, we decided to try the temporary solution of turning J's crib around so that the short end faces the wall and the tall side faces out. This was met with much crying the first time and when I say crying, what I really mean is screeches louder than a howler monkey on speed. For forty five minutes. Thankfully he only cried for about 5 minutes the second night. I know he's just mad that we thwarted his escape plans. After we get settled into the house we will look into bringing a bed into his room so he can get used to the idea and eventually transition him over. But, if he gets used to the tall side of the crib being out, we may be able to squeeze a few months of captivity out of him.

B and I got the first coat of paint on the walls of our bedroom yesterday. It looks much better than J's room, mainly because I found an edger that I really like and it doesn't splatter or smear on the ceiling. There will be much less to touch up. We'll take a look later on today at how badly it needs a second coat and go from there.


Our first homeowner's association meeting is tonight. I'm going to go to represent and introduce myself. I don't think we are in a strict association, but I want to see how cranky the board members are. I've heard they can be picky when they want to be. As long as they don't make me approve my flower choices or complain if I have my trash out too early, it'll be fine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fantastic!

Guess what J just did instead of napping? He figured out how to.....






















CLIMB OUT OF HIS CRIB.





I think it is safe to say we are officially screwed.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sweet Little Gardener or Little Devil With a Hose? You Decide





Much to our surprise the other day, J exhibited proficiency at using the hose all by himself. This doesn't surprise me because he has been "helping" me water the plants for nearly six months, but we were still amazed at his strength and control. We just need to work on not over watering the petunias and we'll be all set. Poor things got a little drenched.
Poor little flowers... so wet
Watering the patio furniture
Heh, heh, heh, and now it's time to get you, Mom!

The one gloved weeder

J was nice enough to spare his mother, but the look on his face... he does have a bit of a sinister side. I can't wait until next spring. By then he should be able to help me plant stuff without putting all of the dirt in his mouth!

B is working on priming the master bedroom ceiling. We scraped the popcorn a couple nights ago and spackled some of the rough spots earlier today. Hopefully we will be able to paint the ceiling and begin the walls tomorrow. We have a babysitter coming tomorrow and Sunday night so we can get a lot done together. Our goal is to have this done by Sunday so we can begin moving things over on Monday. I have to admit that the thought of going through all of our stuff again to move is seeming a little daunting. It will get done, though. It has to. Then hopefully we won't have to do it again for quite some time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A New Name

A new name for this blog came to me last night in the shower. A name worthy of sharing with the rest of the world. So if you are reading this and it's still the second week in September, then I finally got around to telling you about it. I thought of this name because I feel like this is all I have been doing lately. It's most likely what I will be doing for the next couple of years, so I think it's a safe fit for now. As you can see it's taken me over a year to let you in on this little blog-- I'm not really sure why. I was always the first one in school to read what I had written, but I think that was mainly to get it over with. There is something about letting people read your thoughts and actually comment on them. Plus, I feel like all of the blogs I read are always so perky and full of accomplishment. I know there are accomplishments in this one too, but have you ever had that feeling where you wonder if what you have done is really important enough to tell people about? I think it's part of the problem I have with living so far away from people. I'm much better about sharing cool stuff in person.


Anyway, no need to get all deep right away. I had the mamas over for some yummy French Toast and it was a big hit. The kiddos also enjoyed breakfast with plenty of fruit and some blueberry muffins. J kept saying "Mo muffos." He enjoyed entertaining his friends and mom enjoyed some adult conversation. Mind you, it was scattered with all the cooking and keeping little ones away from the stove, but it was lots of fun.


This afternoon I put the second coat of blackboard paint on the closet doors. Then I had to do a massive vacuuming (as per flea sprayer instructions). I only have one question. If the spray kills the fleas, then why is it I was bitten on the leg while vacuuming? I am not happy about this at all. I hope that little flea got sucked up into my vacuum and met lots of his buddies in there. I can't imagine doing this for another 21 days, but we'll try. This is one case where I won't accept anything but positive results. I'm itchy just thinking about those little buggers.


Here are a few pics of some of the cuties who were at our breakfast:







Sweet little JC asleep in her carseat

R and J play tag with a sippy cup

T catches his breath after all that spinning

J tries one more time to grab the camera

Hope you enjoy reading this. Feel free to go back a year or so and check out what we've been up to!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Free time and Breakfast Plans

I decided to take a break from house working today and focus on a little fun. This included taking a trip to the mall (by myself since B is home today and watched J for me) to get new curtains, sheets, and a lampshade for J's room. We still had Pottery Barn Kids gift cards from when J was born, so I thought it was finally a good time to use them. I scored some cute stuff and all of it was on clearance, which is the only way I will by PBK. I haven't been able to bring it over to the house to see how it goes with the paint (that darn flea issue was being taken care of today, hence my break from house working).

This morning I took a little sidetrip to the downtown Whole Foods. This is the largest Whole Foods and really is the only one worth ever going to. The others are so crowded. This one is something like 60,000 square feet and they have EVERYTHING. Of course, you still pay a premium for most of it, but ahh the selection is worth it. I got some cute little tomatoes called Dirty Girls and some fresh mozzarella. We ate them with some fresh basil as a side dish to dinner. So smooth, sweet, and delicious. I also picked up a beautiful challah ring, which inspired me to give a call to my friend K to see if she wanted to come over for breakfast. That got me thinking that I should invite some other people, so I invited about 8 mamas and their kiddos to come for french toast, turkey bacon, fruit, and mini muffins tomorrow (baked them from scratch tonight from a Gourmet magazine recipe. I think the wee ones will enjoy these). I also have some prosecco in the wine fridge, so maybe I will offer mimosas, but right now it's just coffee and ginger peach iced tea. I had so much fun getting everything ready tonight, as well as cooking a big ol' batch of squash and sweet potato fries for J (baked, not fried). This is the first time I'm sitting down in 4 hours. It feels good, but it's time to get up, take a shower, and get some shut-eye. I will probably be punished with an early riser because I decided to stay up late.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

No Salt or Butter on this Popcorn

My Coldwell Banker Realtor rocks. B is a friend of ours and also helped us buy our house. She is also handy with all things home improvement related, so when she offered to let me borrow some old paints to test out colors, I didn't refuse. When she said her mother could babysit so she could come over to help me remove the popcorn ceiling in J's room, I said, "I'll bring the wine!"

We spent about 3 hours taking turns with my wallpaper scraper. The popcorn scraping tool I purchased sucked and will soon be returned to Home Depot. Most people scrape their popcorn ceiling after spraying it, but we found it was easy just to scrape it dry and leave a little texture on the wall. Since I have never done this before, I figured I would just make J's room the experiment room. I'm sure it won't look perfect, but you've got to start somewhere.

The scraping only took about 2 hours. The next day I went back over and tried to smooth it out a bit. I bought a litle spray can of orange peel texture to fill in the spots that looked a little more deeply scraped than others. It sprays on blue but dries white. However, I also noticed that it pulled the drywall off as it dried (it left all these little holes.) So I decided that following directions and priming first might be a good idea.

Talk about a messy comedy of errors. I kept banging the extension pole into the walls. And kicking the paint tray. The ceiling was just sucking up primer like there was no tomorrow and because I was doing this at night with no glare from natural light, it was very difficult to see where I had primed and where I hadn't. I needed to go back and finish the next morning. I was a little disheartened by the slight appearance of imperfections that didn't seem to be there before I primed or in the artificial light. DH kept reminding me that this didn't have to be perfect, but it's been so long since I've had a project that was not child related, so I am a litle anxious to put my overachiever/perfectionist genes to good use again. I also decided to cut myself some slack. With this in mind I sprayed some more texture (which for the record dries off white to off green) and painted the ceiling. The texture didn't do too much for me. Either I didn't spray enough of it on (which is probably the case since I didn't see the point of adding texture after scraping so much away) or I didn't spray it evenly enough. All the same, I know that when we scrape the master bedroom I must take the extra step and sand the ceiling lightly first. This should make it easier to prime. I shouldn't have listened to the paint people who said, "Oh no! You can just go ahead and prime." Why is it the people who are supposed to know what they are talking about often don't?

Following the painting of the ceiling came the walls. They were much easier except for where the ceiling meets the wall. There were a few smudges that will need to be touched up, but overall it looks good. And then I painted the closet doors with blackboard paint so that J will always have a place to doodle. I had a chalkboard in my room from 1st grade through college. I always used it, so I wanted him to have something similar.

You'll have to wait for pics of the finished product. One more coat of blackboard paint. Oh and then we are having the house sprayed for fleas. What's that? We don't have a dog and we haven't moved in yet? Don't get me started.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Amazing

There have been a lot of things going on around here besides vacations... we bought a house, J had strep throat, B and I are sharing a sinus infection. I'll get back to the former mentions later, but for now I want to tell you how amazed I have been lately by J.

He has become a verbal tornado. He attempts to repeat everything we say. Case and point when we were at the park the other day and a pitbull started charging right at us. I yelled, "Sh*t!" as I ran us away, and he repeated "Sh*t, Sh*t, Sh*t!" with complete pride. Oops on that one. Anytime he wants help with something (which is always now) he says, "hep, hep" and rubs his chest for the please sign. When he wants us to take him outside he says, "shoes!" and proceeds to run and find our shoes and demands that we put them on. The most helpful utterance has been "poop" which he tells us right before he does it. He's not quite ready for potty training and believe me, I'm in no rush to get him there.

Last week when he was sick with strep throat, which shocked us all because he has never been sick except for a small cough/cold at about 6 months, we ended up waiting in the doctor's office for close to 2 hours. Insurance sucks, that's all I have to say. Anyway, the poor kid was so well behaved, but his patience was wearing thin, so every so often he would run to the door and say, "home" (pronouced "hum"). He also did this as we were walking through our new house the other day. Unfortunately he didn't mean that was home; he wanted to go to our current abode. I think he is going to be pretty disappointed when we leave there. Hopefully it won't be a big deal once all of our stuff is there, too.

I have to lock J in the bathroom with me while I take a shower. He always manages to get into something he's not supposed to if I don't. Normally he doesn't mind and he reads or plays with some toys. He's become quite the helper. When I finish my shower, he exclaims, "Taa!" and hands me both of my towels. Then he slams the shower door shut so I can squeegee the door and towel it off. One day I couldn't find my cloth, so I said, "Oh, I guess I need to get a new one." J pointed to the tub, where the cloth had fallen, and said, "dat!" He knew exactly what I was looking for. I was dumbfounded at his intuition and just said, "My goodness, you're so smart!"

I know that my child is just plodding along on the developemental road at a normal pace, but it all seems so fast and wonderful. His interactions with B have been so much fun to watch, and I have been doing a lot of watching this weekend because I've been feeling under the weather. Even when he isn't speaking English to us, his Nell "chick chickabee" sounds are so intriguing and full of expression. He is having full conversations with me and I have no idea what he is saying. Yet, everything I say back to him is perfect and often makes him smile. I don't think that will last long!

Okay, that's enough bragging about how gifted my son is. One cannot help but be proud! This month has definitely been one of the best yet. Except for the tantrums, but that's another post.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

To New York and Back, and a House In Between

It's been a busy couple of weeks! We put an offer on a house only to be outbid in the last 24 hours. This was after no one had put an offer on the house in over 100 days. It wasn't meant to be. Then we found an even better house and decided this one was so great that we would offer full asking price. We waited until Monday to call the realtor because B thought they didn't take offers on Sunday. Well you know what the early bird says and we found out someone put in an offer on Sunday for just over asking price. The yard on this house was gorgeous. The space was perfect, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.

My friend B is a realtor and took on this mission from here on out to help us find a house. We snapped the little ones in the car (she has a little girl one month younger than J) and proceeded to look at 10 other houses. Houses that smelled like curry. Houses that were way overpriced. Houses that looked like they were just out of a Pottery Barn catalog, but whose yards were too small. Oh well.

After a couple days of searching the husband and I said to each other, "Let's just take a break from this and regroup and begin looking again after our trip to NY." That was the plan until realtor B called me on Wednesday night at 10:30. She said, "I think I found you a gem." This house is right down the street, appears to have a brand new kitchen and floors and is on a double lot. So if you know me, you know that I am not very patient when it comes to finding out information, so there I was, in my car, in my pajamas, driving past this house to see what I could see. Of course this wasn't much, but it was enough to know that I wanted to see more. So when the sun was up and we were awake at 6:10 the next morning, I strapped J in the car and we went back again (in our pjs once more) to take a look. It looked promising. We did an official look at 8:00 and had an offer in by 10:30. Our offer was accepted by noon. We had us a house!




Holy crap! We had us a house! On a third of an acre with four bedrooms and an office, hardwood floors, and a detached garage. Okay the detached garage is taking me a little to get used to because it feels like it's in our backyard. Well, I guess because it is technically, in our backyard, but it breaks up the yard into two very nice sections. There is the shaded section with over 40 foot trees providing tons of shade and breeze. Then there is the sunny section where a large garden plot lays. I can't wait to start planting next year.








The people who sold us the house remodeled their kitchen 6 months before and put in hardwood floors downstairs. Then they decided they wanted to move back east to be closer to family. I totally get that need, but am so glad they redid their kitchen first! More photos to follow in the future.


We took a trip to NY for my cousin's wedding in Buffalo. It was a gorgeous weekend. We got to visit with lots of family and also took a drive out to visit a former fourth grade student of mine. She still writes to me and her family visited me on a family trip to Philadelphia. I can't believe she's in 10th grade! There's nothing like one of your first classes getting close to graduation to make you feel old.




B headed back to Austin to work and J and I spent a week with my parents. We had a great time visiting the library, the duckpond, swimming in the pool, going to the park. Grandpa even babysat one night so that my mom and I could go into the city for dinner and a show. We at an Italian restaurant called DaRosina. I had the best seafood platter with homemade pasta. After dinner we saw "Curtains", starring David Hyde Pierce. It was a perfect combination of wit, mystery and music. We laughed quite a bit. I love the city. I also got to go in for an evening visit to see my dear friend K from high school. It's always great to catch up with her and no matter how much time has gone by, it always feels like we talked yesterday. Friends like that are priceless. We shared some good wine (I even got a free bottle just for taking a picture of a promo display with my cell phone and sending it to the promotions person), conversation, and bagels the next morning. My ride home on the train was sublime with my New York Times, Dunkin Donuts coffee, and salt bagel light on the cream cheese. I can still taste it. Yum.

J was pretty good on the plane ride back. Now that we're back home, it's time to start doing things like get homeowner's insurance, set up people to fix little jobs, and pick out paint colors. Yay!