Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fred's Bed

Our elf is named "Fred."  Today, he turned up in the doll bed, under a cookie sheet with the gingerbread man.  There's a joke on the card:

Q: What did the gingerbread man put on his bed?
A: A cookie sheet!

And another little note, a couple of days ago, this little snippet happened in our kitchen:

Me: Where did the Statue of Liberty come from?
K: I think the soldiers planted her in the ground before peace, but she means "freedom."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bedtime ramblings

Christian is at the age that he likes to make observations - and these observations are not exactly what an adult expects, but they're usually pretty good.  And now he has the language to express it.

This evening, Christian woke up hungry and it fell to me to rock him (back to sleep?) for a couple of songs.  Here's some of what he said - and the emphasis he delivers very obviously.

"That's clock!  [Pointing to the analog clock with a second hand over his bed.]  Clock spins very slowly."

"Mommy's red!  [Mom flashed in and out of view passing in her red shirt by Christian's door.]  Mommy's big.  Mommy's strong.  Christian's small."

"Christian's pumpkin."  [Huh?  So finally, I came to understand that the orange ball attached to his crib mirror plaything he is calling a pumpkin.]

And we played peekaboo with his belly button behind the blanket and pajamas.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mother/Daughter Outing

I have been trying to come up with ways that Katie and I can have more one-on-one time together.  I finally came up with what I hope is a great solution.  Tomorrow morning Katie will wake up to this note:

We are going to see Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells at a local theater.  Considering how much fun she had learning "Trick or Treat! Smell my feet!  Give me something good to eat!" this Halloween, the play should be a blast.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Magic Pumpkin

Katie makes flossing into a game where I play dental hygienist and she plays patient. A very important part of this game for her is the prize at the end of the procedure. She likes to remind me of this before the flossing, and if I should manage to forget by the end, she will remind me again. Often,  I grab some tchotchke from the room and hand it to her,  but occasionally I will give her an imaginary prize. Once, I gave her a winning lottery ticket. This evening,  I gave her a magic jack-o'-lantern that will change all the candy she puts in it into vegetables.

This did not meet her prize requirements. "Daddy, you have to give me something real!," she insisted.

"I have given you imaginary gifts in the past." At this point I'm laughing pretty well. And she certainly is not.

"Daddy,  it's not funny!" 

"Oh,  but it is! When you get older, you will want one for your kids."

Elizabeth offered that it might make the vegetables taste like candy. Yum!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cooking up (sort of)

Cooking was a family affair last Thursday when I decided to make brownies (because we needed some baked chocolate in the house and Katie asked for them) AND zucchini bread (because I had three zucchini from the local CSA and they weren't getting any fresher).   This was a lot for an afternoon, especially since we were supposed to be going to swim team practice and I had a book club meeting that night.  We were only able to do it because Katie and I decided together that we were going to play hooky from swim team.  After the meet on Tuesday was rained out after the freestyle, we had to go back on Wednesday and finish the rest of the meet.  Two days of swim meets with toddler in tow had me whupped, I was ready for a swim team break.  So, on to cooking!

Katie wanted to stir the brownies but had difficulty getting the spoon around in the thick batter.  She needed me to hold the bowl so she could use two hands to hold the spoon and even that didn't last too long before her poor arms gave out.  She did use her professional egg cracking skills to make sure that the eggs were properly cracked into the mixing bowl.  She was especially thrilled that I needed 6 whole eggs for the zucchini bread since I was making a double batch.  Christian got in on the action with the zucchini bread.  I cut the zucchini up and he and Katie put it into the food processor.  In hindsight, I should have had Katie slice up the zucchini and hand it to Christian to put in the food processor.  That would have been a great opportunity for Katie to work on her knife skills and a better division of labor so that they wouldn't fight over who got to put the zucchini in.  They both helped blend the zucchini and they loved pressing the buttons. :)  Sadly, I wasn't able to get any pictures of the zucchini bread helping but it was pretty neat to have both kids on different height stools next to me helping.  I did get some good pics of the brownie clean up though.

 This was Christian's first experience with getting to lick the spoon and oh, did he loooooove that part of cooking!

Mmm.  Yep, that's how I feel about chocolate too. :) 

Is there any more on here?

 You're the BEST Mom! 

The best part of the night was that I left immediately after putting the zucchini bread in the oven for my book club meeting.  When I got home, my amazing hubby had put the children to bed AND started the clean up.  He knows how to get me to make more scrumptious treats!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What a difference...

What a difference a year makes, especially in the lives of children.  Last summer, I had a 1-year-old.  More importantly to my life, I had a 1-year-old who Would. Not. Walk.  I know, I know, all children walk in their own time, he was building lots of neuron connections that will help him later in life, he walked at just the right time for him, you'll be in trouble when he starts walking, blah blah blah.  Sorry folks, I know you meant well and I KNOW that he walked when he was ready but after Katie had started walking right around her first birthday, I was expecting (with my other May baby) that we would get to go out and play at least a little last summer.  Parks (when it wasn't too hot), the POOL(!), the children's museum, indoor play areas, etc.

Instead, I had a child who was every bit as active as a running, jumping, climbing toddler, only without the running and jumping.  It is hard to take a crawler to a southern park in the summer because it is HOT!  Plus, mulch is not so easy on the knees.  Scratch the baby pool in the neighborhood, he tried crawling across it and just ended up drinking the water.  He wouldn't stay in one of the infant floaties in the big pool which meant I had to hold him the whole time while he tried crawling up my shoulder and I am trying to squat down in the shallow end so he is actually in the water.  That is not a position my back agrees with very well.  We ended up just going to the pool for the 30 minutes that Katie had swim team practice.  For swim meets, he was stuck in the super hot stroller.  I couldn't exactly let him crawl around on the scorching hot pool deck where there were 500 hundred parents and children potentially stepping on him.

As May turned into June, turned into July, turned into August with still no sign that he was going to walk, I got to a point where I would let him crawl on virtually any reasonably safe surface.  Germs, schmerms.  Anywhere I could put him down without out him hurting himself or others, I did because he was HEAVY.  I joined the local children's museum out of desperation, even though it is 30 minutes from my house, because I needed SOMEWHERE indoors, outside of my house, that I could put him down and just let him play.

When he finally walked on Thanksgiving Day at 18 months and 1 week old, angels sang loud HALLELUJAHS in my head.  It was a big deal, if only to me.  Now, he can run and jump and play as he really wanted to last summer.  He can go the playground and do everything he wants to do without me having to lift him up everywhere.  He can splash and play in the baby pool and I can sit on the side while he plays without worrying about him drowning or drinking all of the water.

And my body can heal and recover.  Halfway through last summer I suffered a back spasm related to an old injury making it even more difficult to cart him around places.  Carrying him was very difficult but it some places, carrying him wasn't optional.  Since he started walking I have been able to work through the back spasm and build more strength so that I am better able to carry him when I need to.  Even better, I can relax a little bit while he runs around letting off the energy that bubbles out of him without worrying that someone will inadvertently step on him or wonder if his hands are tracking through something unmentionable.

What a difference a year makes...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Exploring! (Photo explosion!)

We went for a walk around the lake near our house one day after our Stroller Strides class and we had a great time exploring.

Yay for summer!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Interesting Conversations

Two recent conversations with my fun and amazing 7-year-old daughter.

After seeing someone kill the spider that was on the posted heat sheets at our swim meet last week.

K: Mom!

M: Yes?

K: They just killed that spider!

M: Yes?

K: That means that they killed a frog!  And they killed a bird! And bigger animals!  They're RUINING the WHOLE FOOD WEB!!!

Side note: She has been watching a lot of Wild Kratts lately.  It is a great show and I guess she is learning a lot about animals and the natural world!

This morning after walking between the rug in our living room and the runner behind the loveseat several times.

K: Mom!

M: Yes?

K: Did you KNOW that this big rug is just a BIGGER version of the one back here?

M: Um, yeah, actually.  I bought them as a set.  There is a third and smaller one by the back door.

K: (walking immediately toward the back door) What?!? Really?!?

Side note: We bought these rugs about 2-3 years ago and the living room is the room we spend ALL of our time in.

I have often wished I had a voice activated tape recorder that would turn on and record the most precious and hilarious conversations.  I love the things she says that are funny because of the way she forms language and I especially love hearing the things that she says that show how differently her mind works from mine.  She makes connections that I would never even imagine and yet sometimes, although not always, I understand how she got from A to F by going through Z.  I want to record these memories so that I can hold them close to my heart because I know that I won't remember them when she is 15 and telling me to talk to the hand or when she is 20 and away at college or when she is 32 and having her own babies who say things that make her giggle inside.  Stay innocent and full of life and zeal for learning about the world for just awhile longer sweetheart....

Friday, June 7, 2013

Talking talking talking!

In January we had to take Christian in to the pediatrician for a developmental evaluation.  Since he did not walk until he was 18 months and 1 week and wasn't speaking very much at his 18 month check-up, the doc wanted us to get him evaluated, even though she wasn't particularly worried that there was anything wrong.  At the evaluation, he was walking but was still not speaking much.  Mostly, he said "car".  Everything was a car.  Actually, we started thinking that he was using the word "car" to ask us, "What is that? And that?"  Every time he would say car, we told him the name of the thing he was pointing at.  He started saying, "Car?"  It was definitely a question.  :)

The evaluation was an eye opener for me.  She asked him to do things that I didn't realize I should be asking him to do, and he DID things I didn't realize he COULD do.  The evaluator did list him as officially delayed and wanted me to bring him back if he was not making progress in a month or two.  Fortunately, since the evaluation he has grown in words and skills every day.  Around the time he started talking, he also got his first ear infection.  It proved to be a nasty bugger that took 8 weeks and three rounds of antibiotics to make go away.  After the infection was finally gone, there was still fluid on his ear drums, which affected his hearing, although I don't feel it has affected his speaking very much yet.  His words are mostly clear although there are some sounds that he can not say very well. He got ear tubes on May 23rd and I think his speaking has already improved.  Since it wasn't too bad, the difference is subtle but he starting to gain some beginning and ending sounds he did not make before.

He has finally moved from single words to two word phrases including, "Car go!" "3-2-1 Blastoff" (which sounds more like "tree-two-one dast off!" and "Mommy car".
Like an little kid learning language for the first time, he says some funny words.  My favorite mispronunciation right now is "bupcake".  We have been reading If You Give a Cat a Cupcake which is one of his current favorites to read, especially the page where they are visiting the science museum and seeing the dinosaurs!   He keeps asking for "Bupcake! Bupcake!" :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Train Cake

I had some questions about the train cake so I thought I would share a little more detail.  Two days before the celebration was scheduled, I realized I had no cake and no real plan for Christian's birthday cake or cupcakes or anything.  I was doing some late night research on the internet when I happened to search for "easy train cake".  This blog came up and I was thrilled to find something that I didn't need specialty stuff for (like a cake mold that I didn't have time to buy).

The original was made with mini loaf pans but I made mine with regular size loaf pans since I was expecting to feed more people.  I made the Darn Good Chocolate Cake from the Cake Mix Doctor and covered it with buttercream icing, also out of the book.  Some food coloring and some candy and badda bing badda boom, I had a train cake!  Katie helped with some of the decorating but she kept wanting to eat all of the M&Ms. :)

Some better pictures:

 My lovely assistant. :)

In the end, I got exactly what I always want with any birthday cake.  It was super cute and TOTALLY delicious.  In fact, it was so delicious we decided not to take the extra (we had a whole caboose left after the party) to Jim's work or to my friends.  We just ate it all ourselves! :)

Yay for the internet!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

2nd Birthday Celebration!

Last Sunday was the day we celebrated two years since Christian joined our family and it has been an amazing two years!  Per our family tradition, we started the morning with fresh muffins and candles.



Today we celebrated his birthday with a party in the backyard.  Although it was a holiday weekend and many friends were out of town, we still managed to scare up a few to attend.  The weather was sooooo beautiful and could not have been better.  We hung out in the backyard, played on the play set, played with balls and cars, ate hot dogs and hamburgers and enjoyed relaxing conversation.

Some of my favorite pics from the party:

 The table

 A close up of the cake

Showing off his new birthday shirt.

Playing with friends!

Eating with friends (life is better when they BOTH have big Thomas plates...).  Christian was so funny with Teresa today.  He was having trouble sharing things with her today and at one point I moved him over on the bench so that he would be farther away and, thus, less tempted to take Teresa's plate.  He moved himself right back to the seat next to her.  He also kept running up to her saying, "Hug! Hug!" and giving her a big hug.  It was super cute! :)

Getting ready to cut the cake!

Happy Birthday to you!

Love this one!

Chokit! Chokit! Yummy... :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I did it! I did it! I DID IT!!!

For the last 9 weeks I have been working on the Couch to 5K program in preparation for my church's annual 5K on May 4th.

Some history: I am not a runner.  I have never been a runner.  Especially since I hurt my back in 2002, running has been difficult.  I've always envied runners, though.  Especially the calories burned per minute in a run versus the walking that I do.  Last year at this time, I was barely able to get out of bed.  At night my arms and shoulders were so uncomfortable in any position that I was barely sleeping.  I woke up every day with fibromyalgia-like pain.  In July of last year, I re-injured my low back, requiring a return to physical therapy.  Sometime during the course of physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and a visit to Duke Integrative Medicine, I learned that I do not have fibromyalgia, just chronic pain disorder or some such nonsense.  The effect is the same-chronic unexplained pain. I also learned that the best way to combat the pain was through intense exercise. My low back is also less likely to hurt when my core muscles are strong.  I started exercising.  A LOT.  Through the course of exercising (and carrying my non-walking son until he decided to get on his feet at 18 months old), I injured my upper back.  I wanted to cry with the hopelessness I felt.  All the exercises I had done for my low back and to combat the chronic pain now hurt with the new upper back problem.  I am blessed because God knew I would face that moment.  I used to see one particular therapist at this physical therapy office.  It just so happened that, the week I re-injured my low back and returned to PT, he was on vacation and I had to go with someone else.  I started seeing Laura and she has been amazing!  She has been extremely supportive emotionally as well as therapeutically and full of suggestions as I has to return to low level exercises to try and build my strength up (again) without causing more problems or aggravating the ones I have.  She helped me through the beginnings of the Couch to 5K program when I decided to start the program 3 months ago.  She helped me when I started to add upper body exercises back into my routine and gave me the confidence to try some harder workouts

Today I finished the Couch to 5K program.  In the last week, I did 2-30 minute runs on the treadmill and one 30 minute run in the real world.  Today, I ran past the 30 minutes for the final C25K run and RAN 3.2 MILES at a 12 minute mile pace!!!!!

I cried.  I'm not completely clear.  I stopped going to physical therapy at the end of March but didn't DC completely so I could go back in case of further trouble.  I am happy to say that I have had NO PAIN beyond the usual sore muscles.  I did go back today because my sleeping is deteriorating some without the weekly PT treatment.  We changed my plan to include weekly massage of just the upper back and neck to help combat the problem. (I have a prescription for massage, which is AWESOME by the way. :) )

Even with those issues, I am crying because of where I have been and how far I have come.  My next test is the actual 5K next week but I am feeling just a bit more confident now that I have actually run a 5K distance.

Praise to God for the goodness he has worked in my life these past few months.  I hope I have finally learned the lesson he has been trying to teach me for the last 11 years since my first back injury.

If you're local, come cheer me on at the 5K next week.  If I'm crying, don't mind me.  I'm just celebrating my victory.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Boy's Life

Christian's grandfather's first word was "bug," uttered when he saw a moth flying around a light.  Christian now has many words ("car" was the very first, and "train", "truck", and "bus" not far behind - the kid likes his vehicles.)

Yesterday Christian climbed up on the 8-in-1 playset, up through the tunnel connecting the two towers, and he stopped on the platform at the top of the big slide.  He spotted an ant or two crawling around the platform.  He sat down on the platform and watched with rapt attention as one of them tooled around the platform alongside Christian's leg and under his shoe and back into view again.  Then Christian decided it was time to go, so he got up on the slide, got into position, then raised his right hand in the air to waive as he slid down, saying, "Bye, bye, bug!"