Friday, December 31, 2010

Who Needs to Nurse When You Have Peanut Butter?

The toughest nursing to push Oliver through is his morning nursing. He wants to nurse the minute he wakes up. In fact, if Andrew goes to him in the morning, he starts screaming. I'll lay in bed, and from downstairs, I hear screams and desperate pleas of, "MAMAMAMA."

This morning, Andrew got up with Oliver at 5:30am. By 6am, I decided to get up, too. My goal was to push Oliver to 7am before nursing him. He was hysterical, though (literally). He was climbing all over me, pulling at my shirt, sobbing, "Mooooooore." I tried to soothe him in other ways, like rocking at singing to him. That didn't work. I tried to hold him as if he was nursing while letting him sip on warm cow's milk. That didn't work. I tried to distract him with his toy mailbox. Nothing.

Finally, I handed him a spoon smeared with some creamy peanut butter. Oliver was thrilled! He ate the peanut butter and asked for more. We did this three times, and then he got in a stellar mood. It was fantastic. I played with him until 7am, and then I nursed him. I'm so proud of him! I told Andrew about the peanut butter trick. I hope it continues to work!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

14 Months Old and Going Strong

Mr. Oliver turns 14 months old today. He's still not walking around much, but he's started to enjoy walking back and forth between Andrew and me at a distance of about six feet. Very rarely, I'll catch him talking a step or two to get from one object to another (like a table to a couch, for example). In almost all cases, though, he prefers crawling.

Perhaps all toddlers are this way, but Oliver loves praise. If I praise him about something, he insists on doing it over and over and over and over again (like emptying the dish machine!). This has also influenced him to be very generous. He's always sharing! We went to visit Owen a couple days ago, and Oliver insisted on feeding Owen maple puffs. Literally, he'd put them into Owen's mouth. Thankfully, Owen didn't seem to mind!

I think that attitude will eventually help with his potty training. That's going as well as I can hope. I put him on the potty about three times a day, and he usually will tinkle in the potty. Sometimes, he goes right away. Other times, it takes almost the full ten minutes. Still other times, he sits on the little throne, eats his crackers, watches his videos, and never goes. I can't tell if he's learned the association yet or not.

Oliver learns very (very) quickly when I show him how to do something. He likes to do everything repeatedly until he masters it. Sometimes, that's exhausting for his mommy. Every day, we stand in front of the dresser, opening drawers, pulling out clothes, and re-sorting them. He understands now when clothes are in the way and preventing him from being able to close a drawer. Downstairs, he likes for me to open the soap drawer on the washing machine so he can push it back in. He'll do that for half an hour! If I try to distract him, it doesn't work. If I go try to do something else, he yells, "Ah-Ma!" over and over until I come back and pull out the soap drawer. Ha! I love the little guy, but sometimes, things get so repetitive!

I think he's starting to enjoy the concept of numbers. When he carries spoons to the drawer to put away, I proudly announce how many he's carrying, "Two spoons! You're holding two spoons!" Honestly, he usually starts by putting away one spoon at a time and then moves up to two and then three. He gets really excited sometimes when I announce, "OH MY GOODNESS, you're doing three spoons!" He'll start carrying them by the fist full. He's much less interested in letters or focusing on minute differences in things. More specifically, if I say, "O-L-I-V-E-R," he'll go to his letter magnets. However, he hasn't learned the difference between those letters yet. Also, he'll learn that all the pieces of his puzzle are dinosaurs, and he'll hand us a dinosaur when we ask for one, but he can't tell the difference between them (like the triceratops, for example). I'd like to say that I'm not crazy! I don't expect him to know these things yet! I'm just saying he hasn't learned them yet, which will be helpful when I write that he has learned them. Baby steps!

Oliver really enjoys playing pretend and dress-up. He'll often hand me his stuffed monkey along with his sunglasses or a hat for me to put on the monkey. He loves it when we make the animals talk and walk.

What else? Let's see... Oliver's talking nonstop, and he often babbles himself to sleep at night. His newest word is "dog," which sounds like "Chosh." His favorite two words are still "more" and "shoes" (which he says as "shhhh!").

Oliver's sleeping from 7pm to 5:30am straight, and he usually naps just once from about 11am to 12:30pm. Sometimes, he naps twice.

Weaning is going fairly well. Oliver nurses twice daily, once around 7am and again around 2pm. We'd really like for him to be fully weaned in a month, but it's OK if it takes another two. It's very difficult to push him through a nursing when he wants to nurse. I swear, he'd still nurse six times a day if I let him. When Andrew's home, it's easier, because Andrew can watch him and I can leave the room when Oliver is throwing one of his I-want-to-nurse fits. When Andrew's not home, Oliver will cry and whine and complain and tug on my shirt for hours until I cave. Sometimes, I think it would be easier on him if we just cut him off cold turkey because then he wouldn't have to try to deal with the issue of sometimes getting to nurse and sometimes not. We have a big vacation coming up in a few weeks though, so I don't think we'll consider that seriously until we get back.
*Sharing food
*Snuggling Mommy
*Playing with Daddy
*The washing machine
*The dish washer (especially moving dishes around and putting spoons away)
*Monkey & Froggy
*Going up & down stairs
*Playing "Luke Skywalker" (a game where he pulls his hand up into his sleeve and then laughs with delight when we pull up his sleeve to reveal his hand)
*Pulling clothes out of drawers and either handing the clothes to someone or shoving them into another drawer.

*Not getting to nurse every time he wants to
*Being told, "no"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The $7 Present Pile

Oliver has been tossing and turning all night. I wonder if it's the excitement in the air or the glow of the tree from downstairs. His last little wake up was at 3:45am. He went back to sleep; I didn't. My mind wandered, so I decided to get up and brew some coffee to wait for Christmas festivities to begin.

I got home from visiting my parents and sister very late last night. Andrew and Oliver had gone home hours earlier for Oliver's bed time. Once home, I was excited to set up gifts for Oliver, and I pulled his wrapped packages from the closet. A few fell with a bang and woke him. From upstairs, I heard, "Ma. Ma. Ma." That little guy melts my heart. I waited a few minutes, and he went back to sleep. I arranged his packages under the tree and felt so proud of myself for being able to prepare such a wonderful Christmas for our little man.

As most people know, we don't have much money. I was very fortunate this year to come across enough deals, contests, and giveaways to win a large pile of presents for almost no money. Black Friday, I stood in line at Sports Authority at 4am and got a free $10 gift card. With that, Oliver got a padded bat & ball set. They also gave me another $10 gift card, which I used later to get a kick ball and a gift for next year (I paid $2 for those items). With Jingle Cash at Walgreen's, I picked out a fireman toy that was on sale to stow away for next year. A website called GILT gave away $20 for a limited time for joining their site. Andrew joined and got a bead toy (like the kind you see in the waiting rooms at doctors' offices) for Oliver, completely free. I joined and got a soft, monster bowling set for Oliver, which cost me $3 after the $20 discount. From a blog giveaway, I won $15 to a website called Ecomom and got Oliver a dinosaur puzzle for free. From a giveaway on another blog, I won a gift card to a website called Slimy Bookworm, and so I got Oliver three books and paid just $2 in shipping. I won a gift card from Amazon and used it to get Oliver a few more free books. I'd also won a gift card to a website called Jasmere, which works (sort of) similarly to Groupon. One day, a natural toy vender (Natura Toys) was featured on Jasmere, and so I got Oliver a toy for this year and a toy for next year for absolutely no cost. In addition to the toys listed here, I had a few stowed away for today from earlier (just in case I couldn't afford anything), including a wooden train and an animal puzzle.

I'm anxious for him to wake up so we can open all these gifts! I can't wait for next year, too, when he'll be (almost) as excited as I am.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Spider

We've been so busy all week with shipping packages, running errands and doing last minute shopping, that today was a designated "stay in jammies all day" day. Oliver and I explored, played, did chores, and sang songs. Here's a minute clip from our day!

I think we violated a few child labor laws in the making of this video.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tooth Update

I've been very bad about updating Oliver's teething. I know other people probably do not care that Oliver has more teeth, but as a record of his baby life, I feel it is important for me to write on here that Oliver got tooth #7 on December 9, and tooth #8 popped through yesterday. He now has four incisors on the bottom and four incisors on the top. With his incisors, he enjoys taking "little bites like a big boy" of his whole wheat Ritz crackers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oliver Spikes His Hair with Food

A few days ago, I took some water and spiked Oliver's hair with it. He didn't seem to mind a bit. It stayed up pretty well, and he looked adorable! The next day (Sunday), Oliver spilled his milk. Imagine my surprise when he rubbed his hand in the milk and then used his milky hand to rub his hair every-which-way.

I thought it was kind of funny, and I wondered if he was trying to mimic me from when I did his hair. I decided it wasn't likely and dismissed the thought. That is, I dismissed it until yesterday, when he did the exact same thing with the juice from the orange pieces I gave him. The funny part is, he only rubs the right side of his head with his right hand!

Today, I handed Oliver his sippy cup of milk while I made some cookie dough (I made orange spritz snowflake cookies!). Later, he was digging into the drawers to play with Tupperware when I noticed his head was sticky, and his hair was matted in some areas and sticking out in others. The mischievous little boy must have used milk to spike his hair again!
On the one hand, I'm impressed. He's so observant and so smart. On the other hand, what the...?! How do I get my son to stop putting milk and juice in his hair? Hahaha.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where Art Thou, Snow?

This is likely to be the driest December in Denver's history. So far this season, I could count the number of times we've gotten a light dusting of snow on one hand. There's yet to be a snow substantial enough to play in. I love the snow, and so I was so hyped last week when I woke up to a thin layer of snow on the cars and trees (not even enough to stick to the pavement). Andrew teased me when I got bundled up to go sweep the nearly non-existent snow off of his car so he could go to work. He started laughing when I sprinkled sidewalk salt on the front stoop "in case we got more snow" (we didn't).

Today, the temperature reached 53 degrees. I decided to make the most of the warm day, and so Oliver and I went to the park. It was our first time there since October. Oliver's favorite part was the wood chips, which he enjoyed throwing and dropping and putting on the slide to watch slide down.

Oliver and Santa, Part Two

I took Oliver to MOMS Club's holiday party this morning. Shawna and Owen were there, and so was Santa Claus! Although we just got Oliver's photo from his previous visit, it took place over two weeks ago. I thought Oliver might be more open to him this time around. Clearly, I was wrong. Oliver started freaking out immediately, and, as a consequence, Owen also decided that Santa was scary. The result was two very unhappy babies!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oliver Visits Santa Claus

Our realtor had let us know that Santa would be arriving at Coldwell Bank on December 4. They would even offer free photos with the big man in red. We were so excited for the opportunity. Oliver didn't get to see Santa Claus last year because he was so small, and we were worried about exposing him to H1N1.

We dressed Oliver up in his flannel best and took him to meet Santa Claus. Although he's a popular guy, the wait was short, and the bank's staff were kind. Oliver enjoyed walking around the furniture and watching all the big kids play. After about a fifteen minute wait, we were called to the back. We walked around some cubicles, and then we spotted him. Santa!

Andrew said hello to Santa and introduced him to Oliver. I let Santa know Oliver would really appreciate a wooden puzzle for Christmas. Then, we sat Oliver up on his lap. The photographer snapped this quick photo a moment before Oliver burst into tears!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adventures in Potty Training

Oliver's been in the early stages of potty training for about a week now. It's going very well. Initially, we were giving him cookies and treats while he sat on the potty. While it helped him develop a positive association with the potty (he almost never gets junk food on a normal day), I've come to realize that he's eating too many. Yesterday, for example, he ate four cookies. He was so full from the junk that he wouldn't eat dinner and wouldn't drink milk before bed. That's not good. So, we're moving on to youtube videos. He loves watching Raffi songs.

When it's time for him to go (I'll discuss that in a moment), I let him know that it's time to sit on the potty. I remove his diaper and sit him on the potty, and then I put on a youtube video for him. Usually, if he drinks some water, it helps him tinkle. Also, if I speak soothingly to him and play more relaxing videos (like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"), it seems to also help him go.

I have a rule in place for his early potty training. Oliver sits on the potty until one of these three things happen:
*He goes potty
*He raises his arms to come off the potty
*Ten minutes pass

I'd say that he uses the potty about half the time he's on it. There are some days when he goes right away, every time. There are other days where he sits on there, watches his videos, but doesn't go.

Oliver seems to want to pee every hour and a half or so. He doesn't pee when he sleeps, but he pees shortly after. So, when he wakes up, I spend about five minutes getting him in good spirits and then plop him on the potty. If his diaper is already warm (from his piddle), then I let him watch one video, tell him good job for sitting on the potty, and take him off. If it's not already warm, then I know he has to go! He usually goes quickly. I try to make the "psssssst" sound as he goes, but I often miss him going because he's so quiet. Once I see he's gone, I cheer for him, and then we go flush it down the big potty. An hour and a half later, we do it again.

This morning, Oliver piddled in his potty. I was so proud of him. An hour and a half later, I checked his diaper, and it was dry. I took him over to the potty and took off his diaper, and--wouldn't you know?--it was warm! He tinkled as I carried him over to the potty. Ha!

Going #2 in the potty hasn't gone well the last couple of days. I'm only on the phone about 10 minutes out of my day, and Oliver's managed to do his business while I was on the phone yesterday and the day before. I see his "poop face," but it's too difficult to get him undressed and on the potty while on the phone. It takes too long, and by the time I get his diaper off, he's already gone, and I streak it down his leg in my haste. Still, it's so easy to tell when he has to go, that I'm sure he and I will both get better at it as the weeks and months pass.

Although Oliver is not at an age where he can hold his piddle for long, he's doing so well with this early training that I feel (fairly) confident that he can be mostly potty trained at 18-20 months. If that goal needs to change as time passes, I'm fine with that. With the direction things are going now, though, I plan on letting him go sans diaper starting in May because he'll be a year and a half, and it'll be warmer. Until then, I'm going to keep working on teaching him what the potty is for and learning how to detect his sensations and such.

Safety vs. Freedom

Safety is important to each of us. Whether it's walking down the street, flying in an airplane, or laying our babies down in the crib, we want to feel safe. Conversely, personal freedom and choice is very important to us. Unfortunately, there are times when you and/or I feel like our freedoms are sacrificed in the name of safety. We all have a line that we believe shouldn't be crossed. For some people, it's the body image scanning at the airports. For me, it's laws that restrict what we can and cannot do for our children.

For years, there have been safety issues with cribs that have a dropping side. Some of the sides get loose and swing out a bit, and it's enough for a baby to wedge his or her head through a gap and get stuck at the neck. Sometimes, the gap is larger, and babies fall and/or get wedged and suffocate. I guess I don't need to get descriptive here, but it's sad, and I'm sad for the families who have had losses due to these problems and malfunctions.

In response, manufacturers are no longer going to be able to make or sell cribs with a drop-down side. I'm disappointed in this reaction. On the one hand, safety is important, especially when it comes to our kids. On the other hand, informed parents should be able to make decisions that they deem best for their families.

I think the number of infant deaths due to cribs with a drop-down side is 36 in the last three years. That's literally a baby who dies every month. Emotionally, I think, "That's someone's baby!" Logically, I think, "Babies also die from using walkers, falling down stairs, eating and drinking chemicals in the home, car accidents, getting the cords from blinds wrapped around their necks, drowning in bathtubs...." The list can go on and on. My point with that very depressing list is to say that we don't outlaw the making of all those items. If I pointed out the number of fatalities from car accidents and tried to outlaw cars, people would (rightfully) think I was crazy.

We use a crib with a drop-down side. It doesn't pull out at all, but it does drop. My complaint with it is that it doesn't drop enough. I'm just over five feet tall, and I need something 32" (less than three feet) or lower to be tall enough to bend over it. Cribs are typically 53" tall, which is about the height of my neck.

Our crib's side lowers to about four feet. When Oliver was very young, it wasn't a problem because we could have the mattress up high so I wouldn't have to lower him too far into the crib (I'd lift him over and bend at the elbows to set him onto the mattress). When he started rolling over, we had to lower the mattress, and I could no longer lower him into the crib without dropping him. Honestly, I'd have to drop him as gently as possible the last couple of inches. This is the reason why, at about six months old, Oliver started napping on his mattress on the floor. I made the decision that it was safer for him to be able to fall or scoot or crawl off of the mattress and roam his room than it was for me to drop him onto his mattress for all of his naps.

Now, like I said, a baby a month has died from cribs with a drop-down side. How many babies will die a month from parents who have to have their babies sleep without a crib? I mean, as parents, we do our best to baby-proof, but I'm sure most of us miss things. Without a drop-down side, I think more mothers are going to be like me and have to put their babies to bed outside of the crib.

In cases like this, I think it's a very good thing for parents to be educated about the choices available to them, but I still think they should be choices. As mothers, we should be able to say, "There is a risk involved with this crib. The stronger my baby gets, the more likely it is he's going to be able to push the side of his crib out and get stuck. He can die. Conversely, he can sleep outside of the crib, and the older he gets, the more likely he is to wake up silently and crawl off of his mattress and get into things before I know he's awake. He can bite off the outlet covers or figure out how to pull down the garbage can." Then, as mothers, we should be able to make that choice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Isn't Pig Won't Naughty?

Aunt Julie bought Oliver a book last Christmas called, "Isn't Pig Won't Naughty?" Andrew and I enjoyed reading it to him while making different voices for "Pig Will" and "Pig Won't." It has now moved up the list to being his favorite book. If Oliver and I are playing in his room, he'll crawl over, grab it off the shelf and hand it to me, saying, "More!" I'll read it once, declaring, "The End!" when it's over. He hands it back and shouts, "More!" Rinse and repeat five times.

Oliver woke up at 5am this morning and played with Dad. At 6am, Andrew brought him to me to nurse. Oliver fell asleep in our bed next to us for an hour. When he woke up, he immediately crawled out of our bed and over to the stack of books on the floor from the night before. He selected, "Isn't Pig Won't Naughty?" and handed it to me. In case that wasn't a strong enough hint, he said, "More." I read it six times before Andrew was able to distract him enough to keep me from having to read it a seventh.

Pictured: I'm reading the book to Oliver, and then I set it down on the floor. This last picture is of him about to say, "More," while handing me the book.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Growing Up is Hard to Do

When I was young, my mom constantly reminded me not to try to grow up fast. "You only get to be a kid once," she'd say. Typically, that was in reference to us wanting to, say, wear makeup. Her point was that there's plenty of time to be "older," but there's only a short time when you get to be a kid.

I think many parents today have a similar idea, but they take it to an extreme. Rather than encourage their kids to enjoy childhood, they seem to force them to stay babies. It's important to me that I enjoy all of Oliver's stages. Sometimes, I get a little wistful that he's such a big boy (learning to walk and talk), but I'm also excited for him and look forward to bringing him to the park and MOMS Club in the summer, when he can actually run around with the other kids.

A couple of months ago, I was at the grocery store, and there was a boy who had to be twelve years old sitting in the baby seat of his parents' cart. He was getting close to puberty and sitting in the baby seat of his parents' cart. The baby seat. I casually observed the kid to see if he seemed to be physically challenged or something. He moved his legs and talked to his parents and seemed otherwise normal. It was asinine. I see kids who are 4, 5 and 6 riding in the cart in places like Target, and I think their parents must be flipping crazy. They're kids, they have energy, and they need to walk. Still, I keep my mouth shut. The 12 year old almost got me to speak up, though (don't worry; I held my tongue).

Of course, if your child is, say, four years old, and you're spending all day walking at a place like Elitch's or Disney World, then, sure, let your kid ride in a stroller if they really need it. I think that age is the limit, though. If your child is older than four and isn't suffering from an injury or disability that keeps them from walking, then that child needs to walk. In my opinion, of course.

As a parent, I think it's my responsibility to slowly teach my child how to be independent. Early, it starts with things like encouraging him to crawl, stand, walk and speak. They learn consequences, rewards and punishment. Soon comes the potty and teaching early basics like drawing on paper, the alphabet, and easy numbers. They learn rules to games, how to interact with other kids, and how to be polite. When they're in school, they learn to take standardized tests. If they don't do their homework and don't do well on tests, they learn they get poor grades. They learn to study and write papers. You teach them how to shop and cook. As they get older, they learn to care for other kids and start baby-sitting. Soon, they have adult responsibilities like driving and jobs. Then, they have to learn how to balance a checkbook, apply for scholarships, and gather materials for college applications. Then, you have to say goodbye. They're adults, and they're on their way. They're 18, they're studying to get a career, meeting future spouses, and planning their own families. You have eighteen short years with your kids at home to teach them how to behave like adults and succeed in the world. If you spend the first 6 years of their life treating them like a baby and then send them off to school, what the heck is going to happen to them? Is it up to the teachers to teach them how to act in addition to teaching them physical science, multiplication, and history?

Honestly, I won't want all parents to be just like me. I know I tend to go to some extremes, and a lot of parents are against things like early potty training. That's fine. As parents, we need to do what we think is best. However, sometimes I think parents don't always think about the repercussions of what they teach (or fail to teach) their children.

I'm sorry, but I'm not about to be the parent that has their child wait until he's four to sit on a potty and pee, pushed around in a stroller until he's 7 or the parent that shows up at the school of their 12 year old fighting for them to get a better grade, even if he didn't do the homework or do well on the tests. I'm going to love my child and guide him into independence so he can stand on his own to feet, and so I can feel confident that he's going to succeed when he's able to leave me in less than 17 years.

Oliver's over 6% of the way the adulthood. Chew on that fact and remember that you should encourage your kid to be a kid--get dirty, play sports, climb trees--and keep them away from advertisements that teach them to be sexy, wear inappropriate clothes, and use drugs. However, that doesn't mean you should keep your kid from growing up.

Wwwwooooossshhhh. I feel better after ranting!

Oliver on the Phone, Part 2

I just had to take one more video of Oliver taking a phone call. He's so observant!

Oliver Talks on the Phone

Oliver loves to mimic! Last week, we discovered that he mimics us talking on the phone. He tries to hold the phone to his ear (but actually holds it to his neck or back of the head) and babbles. Sooooo cute!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cookie Day!

Every year, my friend Aminta and I spend one entire day baking hundreds of cookies. We have a few favorites that we bake over and over, but we also experiment and try new cookies, too.

Yesterday (Sunday) was our cookie day this year, and we had our share of disasters and winners.

The first disaster was Alton Brown's Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel cookies (recipe here: I'm pretty sure the problem was my fault and not Alton's recipe. See, I ran to the grocery store Saturday night, and they had sugar cookie dough on sale for half off (it expired just after the holidays, but I figured it would be fine). With a coupon I had, it was practically free. I decided to pick them up and substitute them for the sugar cookie dough in his recipe. I followed the rest of his recipe exactly. I melted unsweetened chocolate and mixed it and vanilla into one roll of dough. In the next, I mixed an egg yolk, peppermint extract, and crushed candy canes. I rolled them out, stacked them on top of each other, and rolled them into a log. It looked beautiful. Then, I put it in the fridge to cool until the next day.

Well, cookie day arrived, and I eagerly sliced into my peppermint pinwheel log. The slices looked lovely and smelled of sweet peppermint. I did notice that the peppermint swirl was gooey, though, but I wasn't too worried. I popped them into the oven and went to peek on them 7 minutes later. They didn't bake as much as they just melted. As they melted, they seemed to release peppermint into the air that was so strong, it made my eyes water. Oops.

Cookie #2 was a complete success. I made maamoul cookies as Aminta shopped for cookie ingredients. It was my first time having a maamoul cookie. The best way I can describe them is a flaky, buttery, Middle Eastern cookie stuffed with dried fruits and nuts. They were incredible! I used this recipe: I couldn't find crystallized ginger or fresh dates at my grocery store, so mixed a few of the various fillings they have listed. I used apricot jam, toasted walnuts, and dried dates. It's fabulous.

Once Aminta arrived, she set to work on our Salted Maple Walnut Thumbprints. They were simple, beautiful and delicious. I wanted to eat the whole batch. This is the recipe she used:

I began my work on the truffles. First, I made mocha truffles using a recipe I created by merging a few different ones together (Here's my recipe: Then, I used that same basic recipe, only I substituted peppermint extract for the instant coffee to make peppermint truffles. Those, I rolled in crushed candy canes. I got that idea from O Magazine, which featured a peppermint truffle in a recent issue.

Last year, Aminta made a fabulous lemon-pistachio cookie that Andrew raved about for weeks. I suggested she make it again. I thought it had been a Martha Stewart recipe, but (wouldn't you know?) she had multiple listings when I searched for lemon pistachio. We printed out one we thought would work. Unfortunately, we didn't have pistachios on hand, and we didn't want to run to the store and spend more money when we had bags of pecans and walnuts available. So, we decided to make lemon-walnut cookies. Aminta worked on those, and they came out surprisingly well. They were chewy and flavorful and reminded me of a breakfast granola. I don't think it was the same recipe from last year, but it was very good.

Here's the recipe she used this year:
And here's the recipe that I think she used last year:

I made a double batch of Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies, using some alterations that my friend, Corinne, uses. I did half semi-sweet chocolate chips and half dark chocolate chips, and then, for the nuts, I did entire pecan halves. They're incredible. I made about 100 chocolate chip cookies. Haha.

As I worked on meticulously on rolling the truffles (they took a while to set), Aminta made some berry shortbread thumbprints ( and some chocolate peanut butter cup cookies ( The shortbread thumbprints started to melt in the oven, just like the pinwheels! It was the strangest thing, especially considering that we've used that recipe in the past. However, some kept their lovely shape, and they still tasted good, so we decided they were a keeper.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oliver Piddles in the Potty

Oliver sometimes wakes up crabby from his nap. Andrew and I hung out with him for a little bit to try to keep him in good spirits, and then we put him up on his potty. At first, he was a little mad that he wasn't being held, but we turned on "Mahna Mahna" on youtube and then busted out some yogurt for him. Oliver relaxed and had fun sitting with us watching the Sesame Street short. About two minutes went by, and then he started to piddle! Andrew told him, "Good boy, good boy!" while I whispered, "Psssssst," in his ears (so he starts to associate that with pee). Then, we carried him over to the toilet and let him watch as we poured his piddle in and flushed the toilet!


As if first steps weren't a big enough milestone to mark this day, Oliver also decided to go poop in his new potty!

Today is day #3 of early potty training. My goal is for Oliver to learn the association between going to the bathroom and the potty. I hope for him to then learn actual potty training in about 6 months.

Around 11:30 this morning, Oliver made his infamous "poop face." I plucked him up off the ground announcing happily, "Boop-boop in the potty!" We got there, and he sat on the potty for about five minutes while I gave him Cheerios, but he never decided to go. The same thing happened half an hour later.

After that, I left him without a diaper and just had him crawl around with his T-shirt and leg warmers. I figured, that way, I'd notice if he peed, too, so I could plunk him on the potty when he started tinkling. Oliver went over an hour without trying to go #1 or #2. What the heck! So I brought him and his potty up to the bathroom. I sat him on it and started up the tub. I did that hoping the sound of the rushing water would cause him to pee. Hehe. Instead, he wanted to get off the potty to look at the water. I don't want him to hate the potty, so I let him. I stood him up and took the potty to the other room. I was gone for about 10 seconds, but by the time I was back, he'd peed all over the floor! Haha. Oh well! The diaper and pants went back on.

Fast forward to 2pm. Andrew called from work to check in on us. After I hung up the phone, I turned to Oliver, and he was making his poop face! I said, "Good boy! Boop-boop! Let's boop in the potty!" I took off his pants and diaper and was a little disappointed to see that there was already a turd in the diaper. Still wanting Oliver to associate the potty with going to the bathroom, I sat him on top of his throne. He was on for less than 30 seconds before he started pooping again. It was official--Oliver pooped in his potty!

I was so excited, I kept praising him as he went, saying, "Good boy, good boy, boop in the potty. Good boy!" And then I'd cheer for him and clap. After he was done, I cleaned him up and I let him watch me flush his poopy in the toilet. Then we called Andrew back, and Andrew congratulated him over the phone.

What an amazing day!

Our Son's Bipedal!

Oliver took his first steps! Recently, he's started making a big production out of letting go while standing. It's adorable. He'll hold onto his push-walker and then let go and wave his arms while we cheer.

Today, Andrew was on the couch, and Oliver was standing at the coffee table. He turned to Andrew and took a single step to reach him! At first, Andrew wasn't sure what to think, but when Oliver did it again, he called me over. I was so excited! Oliver didn't want to do it again; he wanted to crawl into my lap. So, I stood him up in front of me, facing me. I slowly let go, and he shuffled his feet forward twice to reach me. Amazing!

This day is already marked in his baby book because Oliver has officially taken his first steps. Go, Oliver!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oliver's Growing Vocabulary

It's official; Oliver now can say four words. In addition to "more," "Mum," and "Dah," Oliver now says, "Shhhh," for "shoe." "Shoe" came close to being his first word. Weeks ago, I'd begun saying, "Shoe!" every time I'd put mine or his on. He started repeating "Shhh" one day, but by the next day, he'd forgotten how to do it. Now, he's eager to say, "Shh!" every time he sees a shoe. He calls his socks "Shh," too.

Oliver understands a much longer list of words. He knows and (usually) listens to, "No!" He also understands the words microwave, fan, stairs, up, down, bye-bye, high five, stack (as in, "stack these toys"), good boy, good night sleep tight, milk, Cheerios, kiss, nose, piggies (toes), boop (poop), potty (which he learned yesterday), clean, peek-a-boo, monkey, and Eskimo (we say "Eskimo" for "Eskimo kiss").

I'll Take the Box, the Box!

Oliver has learned that the box is more fun than the things that are inside it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Voting is Now Live!

The Shutterfly holiday photo contest is now live! Oliver's entry is doing very well. Out of 7500 entries, it has the 160th most views! Depending on what part of the contest I read (the main page or the official rules), it says either the top 3 or the top 500 go on to a panel of judges to win prizes (up to $1,000!). Please vote for our photo! You do have to have a Shutterfly account to vote, but if you don't have one yet, they're offering 25 free prints to new accounts.

Here's the link to vote for our photo:

Check out this entry I found on Shutterfly Holiday Photo Contest.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Boop-Boop in the Potty?

Oliver's potty arrived in the mail today! We ordered it a few weeks ago with the gift card (his birthday gift) from his great-uncle, Scott.

I sat him on it a few times (pictured) and kept telling him, "Potty." He's a little interested in it. A few hours after its arrival, Oliver made his poop face. I was so excited, but I didn't know what to do! I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a cookie (homemade from Oliver's great-great aunt, Bonnie). I ran back into the living room, excitedly telling Oliver, "Good boy! Boop-boop!" Boop-boop is our word for poop. I took off his pants and diaper (in my haste, his turd went flying and landed on the floor behind us). I was a little disappointed that he already pooped, but I decided to make the most of this first training opportunity. I sat him on the potty and repeatedly said, "Good boy! Boop-boop on the potty!" while giving him tastes of the cookie. He was excited to have such a treat and happily sat on the potty for about a minute before raising his arms for me to pull him off.

So, while he didn't actually boop-boop in his potty, he had a positive potty experience. I'm excited to keep it up. I want him to have a positive experience and slowly learn to associate the potty with his boop-boop so we can really start training him in about six months.