Sunday, December 6, 2015

Two years old

I'm not incapacitated nor have I forgotten how to write.
I just, kinda, got kpopped. A lot this summer.

Anyway, This is my child at 2 years.

The Vitals:
He's tall-- 36" tall (officially one quarter inch taller than his sister at this age) 90th percentile
He's heavy-- 28lb 11oz (heavier than she was too) 60th percentile

This boy is fearless. He loves the pool at Amma & Papa's house, floating around in his little life vest with as little supervision as he can get away with.
He wanted to play with the firecrackers at 4th of July, just like the big kids.

Climbing-- one time, like a week ago, he tried to climb out of his crib. He has a toddler bed now.
Talking--all the sentences, all the words, paragraphs and grammar and questions and everything. He's super polite when he's not being a terror. He says please and thank you in adorable ways that not even Eleanor is willing to do. I spent the afternoon on Thursday with some not-my two-year-olds, some who are almost 3, and was just... surprised. I knew Garrison's language skills were a bit advanced, but I didn't really know what that meant. Anyway, again, this is not due to any superior parenting on my part. He's probably had less attention and focus than Eleanor did. He's just like this and I love it.
He has almost all his teeth at least poking through.
Letters and Numbers. Look, it's ridiculous, and I take zero credit as an awesome parent, but he knows all his letters on sight, can name them, count to 10, identify all the numbers 1 to 12. I don't even know. I swear it's not anything I've done, other than get him the Endless Alphabet & Numbers games on my phone.

He likes:
anything with wheels
animals! Not just our pets, but all the toy animals he has. He's pretty good at identifying them too
pretending to be a monster (rawr)
the monster house (which is what he & Eleanor call the haunted house where J works)
Moni & cheese
His sister
playing Ring Around the Rosy
music (Sing Old McDonald, Mama!-- must be the animal thing again)
Hats! Hoods! Headbands! Ponytails! Sunglasses! (all the things Eleanor hated)
books, especially Little Blue Truck and The Pout Pout Fish (I highly recommend both)

I like:
reading him books
the snuggling
how social he is. He runs up to all his teachers at PDO and calls them by names and runs into their arms for hugs
His crazy fluffy hairs
His fabulous pronunciations of things! He calls his pacifier his "buppa" because when J & I wake him up, we pull it out and say "bup!" He calls it "zooping up" his pajamas. He way he says "big tv" sounds like "victory" and I love that.

He dislikes:
being told no
certain textures--like artificial Christmas trees, apparently
being in his room for "quiet night"

I dislike:
the sudden need to push and tackle his sister
the fact that he can get out of his bed and thus no longer plays quietly when he wakes up. I mourn the loss of my mornings with just Eleanor.
He no longer says "guggle" and I hate it.

First day of Mother's Day Out

wearing a hand-towel like a little man

really getting into the building

Shark fin cake... sorta
shark babies!!

gnome baby

Sass 100%

Tongue curling! It's genetic!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

18 months

This one snuck up on me. Possibly because I've been rounding up and SAYING that he's 18 months for a couple of weeks. But now he really is.

Vitals: 26ish lbs. 32ish inches. I can't keep him still long enough to find out. Hmmm... he probably has a doctor's appointment soon to tell me these things. I should check into that (mother of the YEAR)

2 hair cuts total now. I'm not really getting any better at it. Poor kid.
First playground--swings and slides
first pony tail (he begged for one after I gave Eleanor one)
First trip to Faire
First puke! (milestones man...)
He finished his first year of Mother's Day Out.
He's got 10 teeth now.

Moderate proficiency with spoon and fork
JUST YESTERDAY he started saying "Please" instead of only signing it. It was his first signed word.
He says lots of words. More than I've bothered to count recently. He mimics nearly everything we ask him to say, which is really the best stage of verbal development.
Animal identification. Monkey, snake & alligator are my favorite. He also does the noises

He likes:
SHOES!!! He will put on any shoes he can cram his feet into, which is usually not his own shoes, but mine and Eleanor's.
Balls--anything that rolls is fair game. Trucks are a recent addition. He's also a big fan of Eleanor's tricycle.
BOOKS! He will bring you a book, very adamantly demand that you pick him up (Uppa! Uppa! booook) and then snuggle into you in the very best way while he flips the pages and you say the words. It's pretty much my favorite.
Climbing into things, the smaller the better
Playing with his sister
baby dolls
snuggles ("guggle?" he says)
Our pets. More so than Eleanor ever did, he's taken a real interest in the pets. He calls Banshee Bebee.
His blanket & pacifier (which he calls his buppa. I don't even know)

He dislikes:
being told no. (We have entered the age of fits and tantrums and hitting. It's not the best)
Some foods, some of the time. I can't pin it down, it depends on the freaking weather, I swear.
Being snuggled to sleep. This has been true for quite a while, just one of the ways he's totally unlike his sister (who still requires a crazy intricate stalling ritual before bed, EVERY NIGHT) but recently, it's very hit or miss. Some nights he wants to snuggle until he's asleep, other nights he's jumping out of your arms to get to his bed.

I like:
All the smiles and snuggles.
The word development. So much communication!
He's still the cutest little boy I know.

I dislike:
the tantrums
the inconsistency

 So here, have some more pictures of my kids, ok?

  Don't be fooled. They're not actually sleeping. Just playing "nap." FASCINATING game. I wish they'd actually take them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

3 years

The Vitals:
39 inches tall
32 pounds
She wears 3T most everything, but pants are a struggle. Now that she's not wearing diapers, there's nothing holding her pants up, so the great buttless wonder goes around showing her tiny crack off. Because pants are dumb. Mostly she wears leggings, but needs a 2T waist and 3T length. I know she is not alone in this. 

I made a video, because I can't begin to sum up an entire year in a few sentences. Well, I can begin, but the video is better.

She likes:
Octonauts, Daniel Tiger, playing with baby dolls, kitchen things, fixing things, using tools, doing "her job" which is whatever she wants to be doing at the moment, checking the mail, doing it "by MYSELF, Mama!" and being a "big helper." 
She loves pasta in all forms: pad thai, chinese noodles, mac and cheese, spaghetti, whatever. If it's got pasta in it, she'll probably eat it. 
Cheese, grapes, blueberry yogurt, peanut butter, pancakes, apple juice, whatever you're drinking.
Playing outside, chasing the dog, throwing balls, jumping in puddles, kicking dirt, scooping dirt, throwing dirt, moving dirt around the yard with her "shuggle" and bucket.
Her blanket (which thankfully isn't just one blanket, but any of the muslin style blankets)
(The tooth fairy came and took her paci away, so that's one mile stone down!)

Eleanor is just so talkative, and sometimes she says the greatest things.
She calls the Grinch "the Christmas Grump" and the Octonauts live in the "Octoport" not the Octopod and she loves to sound the "Octoalerp." Fs still sounds like S or B, which means Tinkerbell (Kinkerbell) is a "bairy" and she giggles like a maniac when the dog is "snissing" her. I cannot even replicate the way she says vinegar or velvet, but it's hilarious. V is sometimes b, sometimes z. She wants to turn on the tz, and uses "her" instead of "she." She has not mastered the R sound, but it does help with the fs, because she loves "fwied wice" when we have "shiny food."  When you take a picture, she says "tease!" Her favorite song is The Wheels on the Bus, but she also likes to sing "Tinkle Tinkle Little Star" and the theme to Kung Fu Panda, complete with drum noises and "sweet!" at the end. She loves "Closing Time" by Semisonic, but thinks it's about her being born... because we watched YouTube video together where Dan, from Semisonic talks about writing that sing about his baby being born. (For the record, John Mayer's Daughters was playing when she was born. I had no say in that, but it's kind of neat.)

I've gotten her addicted to kpop. She asks for "her G Dwagon," which, as far as I can tell, is everything from 2009 to the present. Any earlier than that, and he's MY G Dragon. She also loves her TOP, and will tell you that Taeyang is a "mad boy" and he's cold, because he's not wearing a shirt. Oh, and it's not MY BTS anymore, it's HER BTS, thank you very much. She asks for the "nega chay challaga" song, and "wa wa geejeebay!" which just makes me giggle. 

She will tell you, unprompted, that she loves you, that you're awesome, and which things are not her favorite. Things are frequently "almost done" as a stalling technique. If you ask her how she's doing, she'll say, "I doing great!" She loves to be a "big helper" especially in the kitchen.
When I ask her to lay down, sometimes she asks to "lay up" and loves to climb into my lap during her bedtime book, which she will then insist she read back to you, with surprising accuracy.

She dislikes:
raw vegetables, except tomatoes
being told what to do

I like:
Getting to braid her hair.
All her adorable outfits.
The way she loves things--full of enthusiasm and joy and no reservations
Holding her hand, painting her tiny nails & toes.

She pushes all my buttons sometimes with her independence and her defiance and her need to be the boss. Gee, I wonder where she gets that from. She also melts my heart with the way she clings to my neck at bed time, saying, "Mama, I neeeeeeed you."

Yeah, she's pretty much the best thing. I think I'll keep her.

Friday, April 10, 2015

March Pinterest Roundup

Seriously, I'm amazed at the motivational power of a calendar. I'm really pleased that I've stuck with this for 3 whole months. Woohoo!

This was on the calendar to be made the last week of February, but I pinned it for J and he was in Canada, so, I postponed. It was good, but I really need a shallower dish next time. The ratio of cheese/chips/messy stuff was off. Anyway, health food it isn't, but everyone ate it, so hooray! I think for once I actually followed the real recipe without going crazy off-book. Oh, I didn't put in the scallions, because I had a cranky teething toddler attatched to me. And I left out the carrots, because carrots don't belong on nachos. And I made my own taco seasoning, because I thought we already had some at home, but turns out it was chili seasoning. I also didn't really use the name brands listed, but it's a recipe from Betty Crocker, so you know, grain of salt. 

This was a mid-week whim. I didn't really want to cook, but we had some broccoli in the freezer, and I always have cheese. I substituted skim milk, because that's what I had, and whipping cream because, again, that's what was in the fridge. It was pretty decent. Though I will note that the recipe calls for simmering for 20-30 minutes. I recommend you do that. Don't leave it on medium high because you have to break up a temper tantrum and forget that the soup isn't actually simmering. I didn't scorch anything, but it was sort of browned broccoli soup at that point. Oh well, tasted good. Made enough for left overs. Win/win!

I'm so bad at following directions, and this was STILL delicious. And my husband, who is notoriously anti-pot pie (which is why I wanted to try the nacho pot pie, to convert him) liked it. Asked me to make it again. HAHA! He thinks regular pot pies have too much crust, because I insist on full-crust pies. Crust on top AND bottom. Like a pie. Not like the Dutch thing that is crustless, and sort of just chicken and dumplings. He would probably love that. He's not anti-crust, just has very firm rules abour crust-to-stuff ratios. He doesn't like calzones for the same reason. I don't even know. I'm firmly a carbnivore, so more crust for me! Back to the recipe, which calls for "seamless crescent roll dough" which is a thing I don't even know how to find, and I didn't read the recipe closely enough to see the seamless part, so I just bought the regular kind. Which worked out ok, but I had to use two cans of it, and it wasn't so much "braided" as... well, kind of flopped together to look vaguely decorative. And I used the remainder of the chive & onion cream cheese from the other pasta bake thingy, which was delicious, and the substitution totally rocked. So, you know, use onion cream cheese. It's better. Baking it all on parchment paper was also the best thing ever, because easy clean up is everybody's favorite thing!

Not pictured, Apple Cider beef stew. Defintely a win. I'm not really a stew fan, but this was good. It tasted just like my mom's stew, only with a little sweet kick from the apples.

Brown sugar garlic chicken. This was quite tasty, but I would like there to me more sauce on the chickeny parts, so I'll double the recipe next time. But I actually followed the recipe, guys! 

Exactly as advertised. It was pretty easy to assemble. Everyone ate it. I'm happy. More recipe following. It's like I'm learning.

Actually, I am learning. I've learned to make cream sauce/cheese sauce from scratch that doesn't suck, so go me!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Ok, so, for Eleanor's first year, I made a video montage. It took me forever to get around to doing Garrison's, and in the process, I learned how to do some things that I wish I'd had with Eleanor's... so I redid hers completely. Mostly. Anyway, then I realized that I could do a 2nd year one for her, so I did. Yes, I'm working on a year 3 for her birthday next month. So, I'm putting them here. Ta-da! My kids, live and in color.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

15 months

The Vitals:
31 3/4 inches
25 pounds

First weekend away from his parents! He spent it with my folks and has an excellent time.

Walking, running, climbing, opening doors & cabinets & the fridge.
Eating everything
Taking & signing. So, in addition to Panda (nanda), Garrison has followed in his sister's footsteps and he has his own version of Bagels' name, complete with hand motion, just like she taught Eleanor. He babbles and mimics all the time, so of course to us, it seems like he says a lot more than is probably reasonable to expect from a 15 month old, but about 25 identifiable and consistent words. He will say "up" now, complete with hand motions,.
All done
Ball, bath, bye, bag, book, bubble, baby, bottle
Dog, Dada, diaper
Mama, more, mouth
Please, Papa (which is actually baba)
Thank You

Works in progress:
More teeth! So, center teeth, top & bottom are in. Top molars have broken through & the bottom are very close.

He likes:
Anything his sister is doing
Cell phones/tablets
Kung Fu Panda (he "sings" the theme song with us)
Anything that rolls
His pets
Climbing under things
Cheese, yogurt, oranges
Baths, books, snuggles
Being tickled under his chin
People. This kid is so social & happy.

He dislikes:
Diaper changes, because it means stopping the playing

I like:
His fluffy hair
All the giggles & smiles
Teaching him tricks
Fleece vests for babies
How easily he goes to sleep (most of the time). It's pure luck, but I love it. 

I dislike:
Dealing with another rash of doom (HFM. It was uuuuugggggglllllyyyy)
How sad he gets when I leave

Monday, March 2, 2015

February Pinterest Roundup

Ah February!

Let's start with my most dismal failure in the kitchen. Don't blame the recipe, because I didn't follow it AT ALL.  I sort of meant to follow it, but then one thing led to another and I'd left out steps and substituted too many things and what I was left with was NOT cheeseburger soup, skinny or otherwise, it was... beef... blah. The texture was all wrong, and the flavors were sort of meh, but like I said, it's all my fault. So, moving on.

I made this Stuffed Pepper Casserole, and Eleanor hated it. She suffered through two dinners of it, and thinks I'm horrible for making her eat rice. Never mind the fact that one of her favorite meals is FRIED RICE. Anyway. The recipe makes SO MUCH FOOD! This would be a great one to make & take to friends who are ill or recovering from... whatever. As long as they like tomatoes sauce & bell peppers, though I must say, the bell pepper taste was not at all what I would call... present, so I'd add more of that next time. And maybe find a way to halve the recipe, because whoa. So many left overs. Oh, and Eleanor was the only one who hated it. It went over very well with all the other people I shoved it at.

This month's big winner though is this Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake. It was delicious! I followed the recipe (mostly, I used skim milk instead of half-and-half, because when I went shopping, I bought the ingredients for a totally different recipe with spinach and pasta and so had to make things work anyway, which they did, with just that one substitution). It also made a WHOA amount of food, but this time, Eleanor liked it, and so there was much more eating of it. I used veggie pasta (elbows, because that's what E picked out) and grape tomatoes cut in half. Now, this is the kind of dish that usually annoys me, because I don't want to cook all the food, then assemble it, and warm it up so the cheese melts. But I did, and it was totally worth it. This would be a great way to use up leftover chicken, or a briefcase chicken. Anyway, I loved this dish. I would make this a lot. It had vegetables in it, and everyone ate it. Hooray!

I also made my life 1000 times easier by doing something so simple that I can't believe I haven't done it earlier. Actually I can, because I sort of hate chopping vegetables, which is why I conned a friend into doing it for me. HAHA! Anyway, my friend chopped up a metric ton (slight exaggeration) of onions, celery, carrots & bell peppers. Oh, and some zucchini. We stuffed 4 quart-sized bags full of diced veggies and I put them in the freezer. Now, I mixed them all up, because that's a combination that I use in lots of things. Ground beef & rice supreme, soup... other stuff... anyway, freezer vegetables. Exactly what I need, when I need it, in the right mix, in a bag in the freezer, so it's super convenient. No pictures of this one.

Then, there was a couple of things that I just did. Like buy Shiner's Birthday Beer, which this year is a chocolate stout. And then realized that I had cake mix. So I combined them to make Chocolate Stout Chocolate Cake, with chocolate frosting. I looked up an actual Betty Crocker "recipe" for stout cake, and it's like this: replace the water with stout. That's it. However, tragedy struck when I forgot to grease one of the cake pans, so there ws crumbly bits and cake-assembly with frosting. I then had to get "creative" with the leftover cupcake frosting from G's birthday, the kind in the sort of aerosol tube? And I only frosted the top. It's a good thing this cake didn't last long, so it didn't have much of a chance to dry out. Also, I need a cake stand/cover thingy for the 2 times a year I make round cakes. It was delicious, and moister than normal cake (maybe, I didn't have a side-by-side comparison, but now I want to do one. For science), and the stout taste was just the tiniest bit of a hint of stout in the chocolate.

And then there's my face. For Valentine's Day, I tried to follow this tutorial for using my Too Faced Chocolate palette, and I was pretty happy with it, until I tried to take a picture of my closed eyelids. My blending skills are lacking a lot of... patience, which led me to this blending tutorial, which maybe helped a little, but my eyelids are... wrinkly. And I took my pictures before I put my eyebrows on, which was silly.
Then, I got the OTHER Too Faced chocolate bar palette, and it comes with a little booklet, so I tried to do one of those. But I had an argument with my crease, and I think I'm just done taking pictures with my eyes closed, which is a stranger sentence than I thought.
Bagels let me play with her face, and I tried to do a
fancy cat eye thing. It's always more difficult to do someone else's face because even though you can have both eyes open all the time, it's not your face! Different shapes, textures, everything. Blah. But her eyelids are infinitely smoother than mine, so that helped a lot.

And last, but not least, the most fun I've had with makeup in a really long time! A friend let me borrow her Urban Decay Electric palette. I've had my eye on the thing since it came out, but couldn't talk myself into pulling the trigger. It was just too bright, too wild, too much for every day use, and I was trying to get better about actually USING my makeup. Now, I'm going to be buying this palette. I've got a complicated reward system in mind to help me work up to it, because that's a thing that I need to do to save the money to get it. I didn't use a tutorial for this. I looked at some pictures of what other people had done with it, then I just started putting colors on my face. Maybe the most exciting part about all this for me, is that I did something that I hardly EVER do, which is put a lot of shadow UNDER my bottom lashes. I've never been comfortable doing that before, but I did, so I could use all the colors. And I did. I used every color in the palette. No primer though, since it was just a quick play before bedtime, so no blending either.

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