Friday, September 30, 2011

Toys



Someone decided to get truly immersed in her playing today.


Little did I know, she was playing so quietly because she had found a crayon to suck on...  And that MEAN MOM took it away and made the baby wail!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hair Cut!

John Paul has been in serious need of a hair cut for quite a while.  He has taken to playing with the scissors from his doctor kit and giving himself a hair cut multiple times a day. 


Seriously, look at that scraggly mane!  Okay, it doesn't look terrible in that picture, but we were starting to get that awful pseudo-mullet look, and it wouldn't have taken much work to give him pigtails... 

He did a LOT better than the last time he got a hair cut!  We still need to buy a pair of trimmers and start doing it ourselves, but we just did double duty and got his hair cut with Andrew's.  Turns out the key to a good haircut is lollipops!  He hasn't had one since last Halloween, and he was SO excited.  After he got too much hair on his first (red) lollipop (seriously kid, stop taking it out of your mouth to touch it!) he switched to blue, which turned his teeth, lips, and tongue an awesome shade.

He hasn't stopped talking about his hair cut OR the lollipops.  Thank goodness for a cheerful hair cut and a patient stylist!



And a happy, well-groomed little boy (who is doomed to look a little like a lollipop himself, with that giant head) is just what we wanted :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shoes

John Paul can put on his sneakers by himself.  This is AWESOME, because I can ask him to do it when I'm getting things ready to head out the door and he usually has it done by the time I'm getting Cecilia in her car seat.

Unfortunately, now he wants to learn how to wear ALL of our shoes.  And once he succeeds with one pair, he moves on to the next. 

He found my wedges.


They are very tricky!  Impossible for him to walk in, and he REALLY wants to wear them.  I encouraged him to try my sneakers on, those are quite a bit easier (also, yes, that's Cecilia climbing the stairs.  She's a freaking terror.).



But apparently it's not enough of a challenge.  I suppose they're not too much larger than his sneakers...  Looks like it's time to hide the heels.  Can't have him ruining them!

Delicious!!!

I tried a new recipe this week - the cover recipe on the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living:  Braised Short Rib, Stout, and Potato Potpies


I reduced the recipe by about 1/3 and it was just enough for Andrew, John Paul, and me (we also had green beans).  It was SO good.  SOOOOO SO SO good.  I'm still thinking about it a week later.  I think next time I'll substitute a chuck roast for the short ribs - it's only about half the price and the short ribs were honestly a little *too* tender for us. 


It was also an excuse to get my mandolin slicer out, which is a lot of fun to use!  Looks like next time I need to make more so that we actually have leftovers.  Seriously, it was SO good.  Andrew didn't even notice the onions (I only put the whole onions on my half, he just got the thinly sliced ones that cooked for at least 4 hours)!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Saturday

 
John Paul's first "face" painting.  He was SO excited and kept talking about all the paint colors on the table.



He was very proud to pose with his snake (which looks a little bit like a gummy worm/tadpole...)!



They cleared out the moonbounce for him.  He may have jumped once...  He climbed over the humps to the back of the moonbounce, then slid out the front and ran to his shoes exclaiming, "MOOBOUNCE!" and trying to get back in.  Maybe next time he'll understand that he's supposed to jump...


Of course, we had to spend some time jumping on the bridge on the playground.



For some reason I always have to sing, "La-dee-dah-dee-dah what's the name of that song" when he's jumping on the bridge.  Apparently it's our "thing" that we do on playground bridges.  Don't ask me why.  He made it up.



It took like, 5 minutes to get him down the slide.  He just wanted me to shout at him through the tube.

We also had a couple of awesome train rides (his favorite part?  Reading the word "train" on the sign), burgers, and cheese curls!  Definitely a successful Saturday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bread

I'm sick of buying bread and the grocery store and forgetting about it and having it go bad.  So I'm pretty much just baking my own now. 

I had avoided doing this for a long time - baking bread seems like an epic task to me.  But apparently it's really not that hard...  My first time baking rolls from scratch a couple of years ago, they turned out rock hard.  So that dissuaded me for a while.  Then I realized a month or so ago that I should probably try again, and had great success!

I started with a simple focaccia, since I knew it didn't require too much kneading.  SO delicious!  I ate half the loaf on my own before Andrew even got home from work...  Then I tried a no-knead bread recipe, using wheat flour instead of bread flour.  BAD CALL!  I had no idea how different these flours are when it comes to bread - it was dense and HARD.  John Paul loved it and begged for it daily, but Andrew and I were not such fans... 

I enlisted Andrew's help to make a couple of loaves of white bread.  I was SO thankful for his kneading skills!  The recipe called for 6-8 minutes of kneading.  I was tired after 3, but he took over and the bread turned out great!  Exactly like an $8 loaf from Great Harvest, for a total cost of *maybe* $1/loaf. 

But it still seemed like a lot of work...  Wouldn't a bread machine be easier?  We really didn't have the money for one, but I remembered reading somewhere that tons of people have bread machines that they don't use - things registered for as wedding gifts and then tucked away along with the more ambitious specialty appliances.  I posted on our local freecycle and got one for free!  I tried it out immediately and ended up with...  a tasty but awkwardly-shaped loaf of italian bread.  Hmm...  For some reason I want my bread to be beautiful AND tasty.  And then I realized that I might as well just use this for the dough setting and then bake it on my own - no need to proof the yeast, no need to knead (haha!), the perfect compromise! 

And the result?


Totally beautiful!  And totally easy!  I'm really looking forward to trying out new recipes now that I don't have to get countertops clear just to cover them with flour.  I've already perfected a thin-crust garlic-herb pizza crust recipe, and now I want to find some more good basic recipes that I can punch up a little - I'm thinking Great Harvest X-Treme Cinnamon Chip-like.  That stuff is SERIOUSLY delicious.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A funny

John Paul had just taken a CD out of the case and put the case on the floor.  The camera was also on the floor (someone was trying to take a picture).

Me:  "Can you give me the case and the camera?"

John Paul:  *Bends over and gives the camera a kiss*

Hmm...  Not exactly what I said, but close!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Playing together

A little taste of the future - two siblings playing together quietly with no parental interference.

Cecilia initiated it, whacking the beads on the toy over and over again.  John Paul thought this was a good plan, so he went to the opposite end of the toy to start playing. 



Cecilia stopped what she was doing, completely enraptured by her brother's superior skills.

She was so focused, she didn't even try to swipe the apple out of his hand before he made it to his mouth!


I just love the little glimpses we get of their future relationship - John Paul's constant attempts to make her laugh (shrieking and cackling while running around in circles seems to do the trick, much to our annoyance), Cecilia's desperate need to be wherever John Paul is at all times (and climbing the stairs quick as lightning to make her way to him), the special smiles saved only for one another. 

Despite the tantrums (John Paul REALLY wanted to wear the pink diaper last night.  I relented, and then he freaked out that Cecilia got to wear the green one.  Same issue with bibs.), two is much more fun than one :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our latest

You know you lead an exciting life when the morning's most fruitful event is the baby's first bowel movement in 6 days...  Cecilia, much like John Paul at this stage, needs to be snuggled in standing position with her feet held in order to produce anything.   There were no stickers in this diaper, thank goodness - I've rescued so many from her mouth this week, I'm considering banning stickers in our house.

Meanwhile, John Paul is trying to climb into the jumperoo.  I think it's time to put it away...  Cecilia is trying very hard to learn how to walk (she's cruising like crazy and wants to spend much of the day walking around while I hold her hands, which suggests we're only a few weeks away if she follows John Paul's example).  Once John Paul learned to walk he was DONE with the jumperoo.  This is rather unfortunate, as Cecilia has learned how to climb the stairs and there is now NOWHERE I can put her where she'll just stay put.

John Paul has figured out how to put his sneakers on by himself, which is very exciting - we can be ready to go and ask him to go put his shoes on and he DOES it, which saves a little time.  Makes me thankful that he actually knows the difference between left and right, although he still mixes the shoes up sometimes...  He is currently wearing nothing but sneakers while he tries to eat a frozen waffle with a fork (he managed to spear the whole thing and when it was an inch away from his mouth the whole thing fell on the floor.  He is, thankfully, picking up the pieces.).  Cecilia is lying on the floor chewing on a toy pair of tweezers and wagging her tail (kicking her leg over and over).

(This post interrupted by John Paul, who insisted on playing "Are you HEEEERE?" with me, a game that consists of him covering his face and spinning around in circles while I tickle various parts of him saying, "Are you HERE?" while he giggles, snorts, and squeaks.  This is made more amusing by the lack of clothing and presence of sneakers.)

One of these days I'll capture a real kiss...

Cecilia is VERY proud of her new skill - pulling up on this toy and walking across the room!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sound it out!

John Paul has gotten VERY excited about "sounding it out" lately, making me spell TONS of words for him over and over again so that he can recognize them on sight.  He's finally getting the hang of sounding words out on his own, but he doesn't quite have it when he's looking at new words.

"Story and Pictures" = "ESSSS-TUH.  SSSSSSTUH.  SSSSSTOH.  Stop!  A-n-d spells and.  Puh.  Pih.  Piss.  Pisstuh."  Hard c vs. soft c is a tricky one!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Potty training success begins!

In the past couple of days John Paul has suddenly taken a SERIOUS interest in using the potty.  He's constantly talking about, "A crotch for makin' pee, and a booty, and a little hole for makin' poop!" (edited wording to part of "Once Upon A Potty," one of his favorite books.  He keeps finding underwear and trying very hard to put it on himself, and then he gets very upset when we tell him he can't wear that to bed until he learns how to pee in the potty.

He keeps reading another favorite book, "The New Potty" and reciting the beginning, "I.  Am a big boy!  I pee in the potty.  I weah undah-pants with skateboards on it!"  But Andrew and I remind him that he doesn't pee in the potty yet, and he seems to be very sad that he hasn't yet mastered that skill.

Two days ago he decided that he WANTED TO PEE IN THE POTTY!  So he ran to the BIG toilet and had me sit him on it.  Nothing happened.  He tried, but he had no idea how to make himself pee.  He was VERY upset when Andrew and I made him get off to take his bath.  But then he had a lightbulb moment - if he can pee in the bath tub, he can use that same feeling to figure out how to pee in the toilet!  He tried again the next day - no luck. 

But this morning he was having naked time for a while before we got dressed for church.  All of a sudden he paused and said, "PEE IN THE POTTY!" and RAN to the toilet, lifted up the lid, and sat down on his own.  Nothing happened.  And then, all of a sudden, he figured it out!  Meanwhile I'm crouched on the floor in front of the toilet, holding his legs to make sure he doesn't fall in, hoping desperately that he doesn't pee on me...

He is SO proud of himself and keeps reciting parts of "Once Upon A Potty" while he sits on the toilet.  He managed to go a tiny bit before his nap as well.  He has yet to do anything on the little potty seat we got - maybe that's totally unnecessary?  But I'm pretty excited about this new development - hopefully he'll keep improving and I won't have to worry about him still not being potty trained by the time he's like, 4!

*Edited to add - Before we went upstairs to go to bed he managed to produce a little #1 & #2 in his little potty downstairs - looks like we are ready to start taking this a little more seriously!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

May I please...

Let's face it, John Paul is clingy.  He wants me to be with him ALL the time.  I'm not allowed to go fold laundry while he's playing in the bathtub, I am supposed to sit on the toilet and WATCH him play.

For a while, every time I left there was an outraged, "MOOOM!" and fussing until I came back.  Finally I told him that he needed to ask nicely and use a sentence like, "Could Mom please come back?"  John Paul was silent for a while and then I heard a very timid, "May IIIII pweez...  Have my mom!" 

How can I resist that?  So that's where we've been the past couple of weeks, except now he has started responding to himself.  "May IIIII pweez...  Have my mom!  Yes you may!"  At this point I'm not sure if he actually *wants* me or if he just enjoys the fact that he can use his manners so effectively.  But it's pretty cute either way!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Kindle? Yes, please!

I'm not ashamed to admit it - I am NOT a technologically-savvy consumer.  I don't have an iPod.  I don't have a smart phone.  I've never used a Kindle or an iPad.  They're expensive!

I read a LOT.  Cecilia nurses to sleep every night for at least an hour, and once she's asleep enough I can read.  But the problem is, turning the pages and trying to read library books with crinkly dust covers often disturbs her, so a Kindle really would come in handy.  Plus have YOU ever tried taking two kids under 2 to the library even just to pick up books that are on hold?  It's a disaster.  But the library website lets you check out E-books!  If only I had a Kindle on which to read them...

You know who wants Mom to get a Kindle?

This kid.


Wait, no, maybe she's terrified of the possibilities?




"If you give my mom a Kindle, I'll have more free time to crawl under the table - do it!"



Who has two thumbs and ALSO wants Mom to get a Kindle?

This guy.




But wait, how is this even possible?  Don't we have like, absolutely no extra money?  That's right!  But, check out this website.  It's a brilliant advertising venture - social marketing.  They give people free products with pretty much no strings attached!  You get a product (that you agree to receive) and use it.  If you like it, you share the info with your friends and give them coupons.  This has really helped me try out new products that I wouldn't otherwise have paid for, like the facewash I've been using for the past 3 years. 

I think that we, as consumers, are generally hesitant to try new products that haven't been tested by people we know.  If I know I can trust someone else's judgment, I'm much more likely to try something they recommend.  Hence the brilliance of this social marketing.  If you haven't joined BzzAgent.com already, do it!  You've got nothing to lose.

Also, can I have a Kindle, please?  The kids promise to share...

Permanent marker...

I suppose it was only a matter of time.  John Paul went downstairs earlier than usual while we were getting ready in the morning.  He was suspiciously quiet.  I assumed this meant he had foudn some food and was stuffing his face - no biggie.

Not so lucky.  He found a Sharpie!  It was purple, so he assumed that it was the same marker he uses to write in his numbers book (which came with a purple wipe-off marker that has been hidden because last time he found it he drew in his book for a while and then started poking his lips and eyes with it saying, "Makeup!").  Andrew found him with marker all over his legs, face, and on the rug.  He did manage to get quite a bit in the book, too.

He was SO confused as to why he was getting in trouble.  "Draw numbers?"  He really thought that all he did was draw numbers.  We told him he did a "Bad Thing" and he has been repeating that every time he notices the marks all over his leg.  He keeps initiating the following conversation:

"Bad thing?"
"Yes, you did a bad thing when you drew on the rug with a marker."
"Dwaw oooooon?"
"Do you draw on your leg?"
(very somber face, in a hushed tone)
"Noooo."
"Do you draw on your face?"
"Noooo."
"Do you draw on the rug?"
"Noooo."
"Do you draw on your numbers book?"
"YES!"
"Do you draw on paper?"
"YES!"
"Do you draw in a coloring book?"
"YES!"

We have had this conversation at least 5 times/day since the incident.  I think he may even have learned a lesson.  But the Sharpies are going WAY out of reach from now on.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fountains!

We visited the fountains at Fairfax Corner a couple of weeks ago to make sure we hit that attraction before the weather gets cooler.  Apparently it was also an evening with live music, which was a little bit of a distraction!


"Water?  Cool!  But a little bit intimidating..."


"Wait, there's music playing over there!"


"Did you guys notice how awesome this is?"



Getting braver...  Maybe he'll finally touch it!


Victory!  Head down, face away, reach that hand out and grab the water!

He spent much of our time there running in place and dancing to the music while trying to work up the courage to touch the water.  He cried when we left, of course.  I'm pretty sure it stays open for a while longer, so we can head there after all the pools close this weekend to get our water fix.  And next year Cecilia will be ready to play!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The best place to climb...

Cecilia will climb on anything - the couch, the stairs, the coffee table, the laundry basket...

Her absolute favorite thing to climb?

People!


The moment one of us lets a body part touch the ground, she's there grabbing and pulling until she manages to stand.  This is easily managed when she's pulling up on our legs.  Pulling up on Andrew's waistband is another matter...



Do you see John Paul sneaking into the picture behind Cecilia?  He thought this was pretty hilarious.  And he's a really good sport about her constantly climbing on him while he gets his diaper changed.  The moment he lies down, her eyes light up and she starts FLINGING herself towards him to climb on his face and chest.  She's starting to master cross-crawling, but when she gets excited the bellyflops prevail!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Utensils

John Paul is pretty terrible at eating with utensils - he really just doesn't care, and would rather eat with his hands because it's faster.  Lately he's been asking for a spoon at lunch time, but he doesn't actually eat with it, he mostly just holds it while he eats with his other hand.

The other day I was putting away dishes while he ate and I kept hearing him whine, only to go to the table and see that, after much frustration, he had succeeded in spearing an apple slice with his spoon.  He held it up triumphantly in the air saying, "Stab!"

Today he didn't eat any of his potatoes, chicken, rice, or green beans with the spoon.  The one food he *did* eat with the spoon?  A Babybell cheese.  It actually worked quite nicely!

I am wondering at what point utensils will become a regular guest at John Paul's place...  Not any time soon, I don't think.
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