Saturday, May 26, 2012

Color Run

We almost missed out on The Color Run!  My mom, Andrew, and I had been planning on running the 5k race together for a couple months now.  We decided we would register at the event instead of doing same-day registration in case the weather was bad, or in case Andrew and I weren't getting enough sleep from the kids waking up at night.  Yesterday morning, I went online to find out when same-day registration opened, only to discover it had sold out!

Thanks to the help of friends and Craigs List, I tracked down three packets.  Andrew drove all over the Denver-Metro area after work yesterday to pick them up.  With Friday night traffic on Memorial weekend, I have a feeling the drives were no picnic.  I crossed my fingers that all our effort was worth it.  The race bags looked promising--we each got a pack of colored powder to throw at the finish line in addition to our race shirts, sweat bands, numbers, and a temporary tattoo!  We couldn't be picky about shirt sizes, of course.  I ended up with an XL, but I ran it through a hot wash cycle and hot dryer cycle to try to shrink it as much as possible.  It was still big, so I decided to just own the look.  I crimped my hair by braiding it the night before.  The morning of, I stuck my hair in a high pony, donned my sweat band, pulled on some leggings and my new neon pink running shoes.  It looked like I stepped straight out of the early 90s.

Oliver wore my temporary tattoo for me:

We met up with my parents at City Park.  My dad took a "before" photo of us, looking so nice in our clean, crisp running clothes:

Oliver's inspecting our dye packets.  He asked me if he could eat them.

This little guy has no idea what he's getting into.  He's also probably wondering why his dad is dressed like Richard Simmons.

Our dye packs were meant for the finish line, but there were lots of people who couldn't resist the temptation of exploding them at the starting line.

I got hit with a stray shot of purple.  It was my first touch of color:

At every kilometer, they set up a color station, where volunteers doused all the runners with a color.  The first kilometer was orange:

The second color station was blue.  Andrew got covered:

The third kilometer station was yellow, and the fourth kilometer station was green.  At the finish, they counted down every fifteen minutes for finishers to explode their packets.  I broke open our orange one to show Oliver how it worked.  At first, he was hesitant, but then he had fun grabbing handfuls and sprinkling it all over the grass and himself:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Southern Fried Pickle Spears

When visiting Texas in 2010, I was introduced to fried pickle chips at a restaurant with Andrew's extended family.  They were slices of pickles that had been fried and were served with a dipping sauce.  He and his family wouldn't believe me that I hadn't even heard of such a food item, much less tried them.  They were good!  Of course, this is coming from a person who loves pickles.

What luck, I actually have a photograph of the pickle chips I tried:


Then, a few weeks ago, Pillsbury posted a link to a fried pickle spear recipe.  I knew I had to try it, and so I pinned it to my Pinterest board:

Andrew was on board to help me with them, and so we breaded and fried the pickle spears and served them up with a side of ranch.

The fried spears were so good.  They were also so filling.  The serving size is supposed to be three, but I could barely eat two.  I wanted to eat more because they were so delicious, but I couldn't.  Andrew packed away four or five, and he got sick to his stomach.  I was sad to hear him swear off fried pickles for the rest of his days.  I like to think he doesn't mean it.  I'll wait a few months and see about making them again.  Until then, I'm counting the days!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Leg Warmers

For my sister's birthday a few week's ago, I decided to make her leg warmers.  I got the idea from Pinterest.  Here's the pin:

I set out to make them back in February for the Pinterest Challenge.  Near the end of the month, I realized I wouldn't finish them on time.  I set them off to the side for another month and finally got around to finishing them.  

I'm a beginner knitter.  I've knitted a few items, but I have a tough time reading patterns.  I had to read a lot of the knitters' comments on the pattern in order to understand exactly what I was doing.  A few false starts later, I finally finished and ended up with these: 

The bubbles don't show up well in the photo, but they're there!  I thought they came out OK.  I decided they weren't a good enough present to send on their own, so I sent her a flower pot as well.  I also sent her the message to just donate them if they weren't her thing.

So, I guess the pin was OK.  I don't know if I'd walk around in them in public, but they were actually quite comfy to wear and might be a nice thing to wear around the house.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

I woke up this morning at nearly 7am and felt so refreshed.  It took only a moment to realize I hadn't fed Joanna all night.  She slept completely through the night!  No one could have given me a better Mother's Day gift.

I sat up and thought about going to check on her, and then I noticed the bed was empty.  I peeked out the window, and Andrew's car was gone.  A quick call informed me that my family was out at Oliver's new favorite destination--McDonald's.  They were going to bring me home an egg & cheese sandwich with a coffee.  It was the first time I can remember that I had nothing to do when I woke up.  So, I grabbed Andrew's work iPad and played a few games of Hanging with Friends.

When my family arrived home, we had a breakfast picnic on the bed.  I ignored the crumbs.  After everyone was fed, Andrew started the shower for me and then took the kids out to the grocery store to get things for lunch and dessert.  I got to take a completely uninterrupted shower.  I had time to put in my contacts, brush my teeth, scrunch my hair, and even put on a bit of mascara.  It was nice.  When my family got back, Oliver handed me a bouquet of lilies and said, "Happy Mother's Day."  With Andrew's help, he signed a card to me, too.  My favorite part of the day happened next: Oliver wanted to play "pretend baby."  He laid in bed and listened to me sing him lullabies, and then he said, "I love you, Mommy."  
We got everyone dressed and bundled up, as it was kind of chilly out, and we took a slow drive downtown.  We stopped at a coffee shop--Crema Coffee House--that I'd read about in our AAA newsletter.  We drove through a warehouse district to get there.  It was definitely urban, but it felt safe.  I enjoyed a soy latte with perfectly aerated soy milk (you'd be surprised how rare such a thing is!)--hmmm, foam!  The food was out of this world, too.  Andrew had the most flavorful vegetarian breakfast burrito, and Oliver and I split a vegan chai cupcake.  So good!  We ate so quickly that we were reluctant to leave.   

So, we set out on foot for a stroll through the neighborhood behind the coffee shop.  We passed some apartments and town  homes and entered a neighborhood of old, brick homes.  There were large trees that provided shade.  People worked hard on their small gardens, and plants and flowers erupted from fences around us.  I loved it!  We passed by a community garden, and Andrew and I shared our ambition for our own garden one day.  I commented how I'd really love to live in a neighborhood just like this.  I assumed the homes would be out of our price range, and I was right.  A glance at the house listings when I got home revealed that they ranged in price from half a million to $1.5 million.  It's a shame I have such expensive taste in homes.  This is why I dream to move back to the Midwest one day, where a person can buy a brick home in a neighborhood for what we pay for our town home here.  But that's another conversation for another day.

After our walk through the Curtis Park neighborhood, we decided to go to The Children's Museum.  Oliver flew paper airplanes, rode on a firetruck, and played with bubbles.  Even Joanna got to play at the baby pond. 

We took the kids back home for a nap, and Andrew made us lunch.  Then, we wiggled into our swimsuits and went to the rec center to swim, splash, and slide down the pirate ship slides.  Joanna is a natural and kicks and paddles her arms when we motor her around the pool! 

Once home, Oliver and I worked on making pie--chocolate truffle--and put it in the fridge to set.  Andrew took the kids for a walk and gave me some quiet time to myself.  Then, he gave the kids a bath, made Oliver a small dinner (as we weren't hungry, and I wanted to save room for pie).  We wound down upstairs by playing some games on the iPad together, and then it was the kids' bedtime.  They went to sleep without a hitch, and Andrew did all the dishes as I worked on laundry.  We ended the night cuddling and watching some old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.   

It was the perfect Mother's Day.  I felt loved and celebrated, and I got to spend lots of quality time with the kids.  I am the luckiest woman in the world.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

I've been wanting to make this blog topic for a while now.  Oliver has gotten to the point where he occasionally says the most hilarious things.  It seems fitting to record them here, so I can tease him later.  Expect to see these posts fairly regularly, especially as he gets more vocal.

This afternoon, we left my parents' house and headed to Andrew's parents' house to make our Mother's Day rounds.  As we pulled into my in-laws' driveway, Oliver looks around and says in complete and utter awe, "So many garages!"

Funny, but it can't compete with what he said a few months ago.  I was in the midst of changing Jo's diaper on my bed.  I took off her soiled diaper and turned around to grab a wipe.  She was at the base of the bed, but this was before she was rolling over, so I didn't have to worry about her falling off the bed.  The moment I turned away, she started pooping.  It shot out like mustard from a squeeze bottle, and she left a trail of liquid baby poop on the carpet.  Yes, it squirted out of her butt and onto the floor.  Babies are amazing little creatures.  The carpet in our house is an absolute wreck already, so it wasn't that big of a deal.  I grabbed an old towel and blotted it to get the worst of it up.  I finished changing Jo, and then I went downstairs to check on Oliver and to get the bottle of vinegar to finish the cleaning job.  Oliver came back upstairs with me and saw Jo's poop mess on the carpet.  He looked distressed, and then he pointed to it and said, "Oh no!  Mom peed!"

I Love Baby Laughter

Colleen took us to Red Robin to celebrate Mother's Day a day early.  As we waited for our table, Joanna got entertained by her daddy and brother.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Halfway Through Joanna's First Year

Joanna is growing up.

We're regular patrons at our grocery store, and all the cashiers and workers know our family.  Recently, Jo has started sitting up in the front of the cart.  She loves it and spends our grocery trips smiling and cooing at everyone.  Today, the cashier I see most often commented on how quickly she's gone from being a little baby to a kid.  It's true!

Although she's in the midst of this stage where no one can hold her but me when I'm in eyesight, she's otherwise a very, very happy little girl.  She's easy going, loves to smile, and loves to babble.  She sits up very well now and rarely falls over, but once she gets tired, she hurls herself to the floor.  So, I still can't just plop her down without giving her lots of supervision.

She stands well when I support her armpits, steady her waist, or hold her hands.  I actually haven't been cultivating this skill of hers too much because neither Andrew nor I want to deal with the exhaustion of having an early walker.  Plus, we've heard babies do better when they learn to crawl first.  No skipping stages, Jo!

Joanna rolls over all the time from front to back.  She enjoys the game and cracks up as I roll her onto her stomach, and she pushes back again.  She still doesn't roll from back to stomach much at all.  I can probably count how many times she's done that on one hand.  She'll get there.

Happily, Jo is sleeping much better at night.  She only gets up once to eat and get a diaper change.  Sometimes, she'll fuss at other parts of the night, but she puts herself back to sleep at those times.

She loves food.  She loves to closely watch everyone eat.  If you let your guard down, she'll try to swipe your food.  She's good at that, too!  Her favorite food is jarred lentil dinner, which is made from lentils, brown rice, carrots, and applesauce.  She makes faces at the food I make.  She doesn't like the sweet potatoes I make, and she doesn't even like mashed bananas--even when I puree them smooth with strawberries!  I've actually decided that she's not a big fan of fruit in general because I tried the jarred fruit (plums and pears) to see if she'd like the stuff better.  Nope!  Joanna likes jarred lentil dinner, jarred green beans, and jarred peas.  Over the last few days, I've tried giving her very tiny pieces of food.  I've given her minced bananas rolled in baby oat cereal.  She couldn't eat it until I smashed it thin for her, but then she didn't like it.  She liked minced strawberries but gagged once, so I stopped giving them to her.  I've been trying to work up the courage to give her Cheerio halves, but I haven't gotten that brave yet.

At six months old, here is a list of Joanna's likes and dislikes:

*Being held by Mom
*Watching Oliver do things, especially throw things
*Sucking her toes
*Exploring new objects and toys
*Watching people eat
*Getting her belly tickled
*Sitting on the side of the tub and kicking her feet to splash with Oliver during his baths

*Being held by anyone else but Mom if Mom is available
*Getting strapped into the car seat

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two and a Half!

I've procrastinated all week on writing this post.  My boy turned two-and-a-half on Monday!  OK, so it's not really a birthday, but two-and-a-half comes with its own milestones.

Let's see.  Where to start?  Oliver became a big brother in November, and he really shines in the role.  He absolutely adores Joanna.  He constantly asks me if he can hold her or snuggle her.  He likes to kiss her cheeks and rub her head while saying, "So gentile."  He lets her grab his hair and shirt, and he likes to make her laugh by throwing stuffed animals.  He is truly wonderful to her, and we have yet to encounter any problems.  I'm sure there are going to be many, but, for now, we're still problem-free!

Andrew and I have been working hard at improving Oliver's social skills. He's such a good boy when we go out.  He listens, walks with us, and impressing people constantly.  Well, he impresses people until they try to talk to him.  When someone talks to him, he responds by yelling noises or yelling, "No!"  His "best" response to people when they talk to him is to hide behind me.  He has yet to answer anyone when they ask him his name or how old he is.  Most of the time, if someone asks him to give them a high five, he turns to me and says, "Mom's going to do it."

He's getting better with other kids.  His very shy and prefers to just watch for a long time.  If another kid is too forward or very friendly, he gets even more shy.  When kids are kids and running around the park, he'll slowly warm up and join them.  It takes him a long, long time, though.

To remedy this, we try to get Oliver out of the house daily.  He still goes to swim class and music class once a week.  He's exposed to other children there, but it's still mostly parent-child interaction.  Once he turns three, he can start some classes by himself, without us.  Until he stops freaking out at adults who talk to him, I know I can't enroll him in any of those classes.  That's OK.  He'll get there!  I've started to take him to McDonald's once a week.  I get him an egg & cheese sandwich and then let him run around in the play area.  He plays with kids sometimes, but he mostly enjoys watching them go down the slide.

We've also been trying to work on Oliver's language skills.  He talks a lot now, but he still doesn't use pronouns.  The only questions he asks are "What" questions.  He hasn't started to ask who, where, why or how.  I try to encourage him to use the questions by asking things like, "Who is she?" while pointing to Jo.  He doesn't answer, so I do.  I hope he's picking up on it.

Oliver's getting so good with his letters.  He now knows most of the lowercase letters in addition to all his uppercase letters.  He likes to try to write letters, but, so far, the only recognizable one is "O."  He's started to memorize how some words look, and he can recognize the words "mom," "dad," "Oliver," "Jo", "go," "no," "open," and "stop" by sight.  He hasn't grasped how to sound out words yet, so reading is still a while away.  He does have numerous books memorized, though, so he enjoys "reading" to Andrew and me in that regard.  I've also been excited to see him branching out and wanting to read new books.  For a long time, he only wanted to read the books that he knew really well.  New books were of no interest to him.  In the last week or two, he's started to bring me new books off of his shelf and asks me to read them to him.

He still doesn't really watch any TV or movies.  The only exception to that is a full episode of Sid the Science Kid on Youtube and, occasionally, Jacques Pepin on the Create channel.  It's not that he doesn't get any media.  We let him watch Sesame Street music videos, and he plays a few games on the iPad (Andrew got one for work).  We just don't ever sit down to watch movies or shows, so he hasn't picked up on any of that yet.  I recently ordered a copy of The Lion King, so we might try to watch that with him sometime soon.  I'm not sure if he'll have the attention span for that or not.

He still is phenomenal with numbers.  Oliver can count up and down to 60.  He can count actual objects to about 15 before losing track or doubling up on numbers.

Oliver now enjoys making choices.  He loves when I tell him he gets to choose something, like choosing which pair of underpants he's going to wear for the day.  I also let him choose his pants and shirt frequently.  He can get his undies, shorts, and most shirts on by himself, but he can't get pants, socks, or shoes on yet.  He's recently learned how to take his shirts off, and so I frequently find him running around butt naked in the house.

Another new development is that Oliver now stays dry throughout the night, so we're officially done with all diapers for him.  That feels good!  He has no accidents whatsoever, but sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and calls to us to help him use the potty.  Speaking of the potty, he's started to occasionally stand up to pee.  I always tell him it's his choice.  For awhile, he was choosing to stand up regularly, but now he's gone back to sitting down for the most part.

At night time, he still usually sleeps in his crib, but he sleeps in his big boy bed occasionally.  We let him choose at night.  Hopefully, he'll be transitioned completely to the big boy bed in the upcoming months, that way Joanna can take over the crib once she's sleeping entirely through the night.

At two-and-a-half years old, here are some lists of Oliver's likes and dislikes:

*Taking baths
*Cuddling with his sister
*His stuffed "Monkey" and "Doggy"
*His monkey blanket
*His toy kitchen
*Helping Mom bake
*Pretending to play with small appliances, like the food processor without the blade and the ice cream maker
*Running around out back
*Swim class with Dad
*Singing with Sesame Street videos (but no one else is allowed to sing with him)
*The iPad, especially the Lego 4+ app, a jet pack game, and Sudoku (he pushes the numbers I tell him to push)
*Going to the "coffee store" (aka Starbucks) on Thursdays, followed by music class
*Going for walks
*Going to McDonald's
*Watching other kids run and play

*Getting his clothes wet.  If he so much as drools on himself, he insists on taking his shirt off.
*Strangers talking to him
*Mom and Dad talking to each other ("No talking!")
*Mom or Dad singing ("No singing!")
*Not doing something himself.  He gets upset if someone else starts the laundry or coffee or even flushes a toilet without him.
*Other children coming up and talking to Joanna.  He makes it clear that it's his baby sister.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Red Rocks Park

Red Rocks is in the next town over.  It's famous for its amphitheater, but it's actually a whole park where people go to bike and hike.  I decided to take the kids up there today.  It wasn't very stroller friendly, and Oliver didn't enjoy the sloped walk.  It was a pretty poor choice for me to go by myself with the kids, but it sure was lovely.  After about twenty minutes of taking in the scenery, we headed back to the Welcome Center for ice cream.   So, the trip wasn't an entire waste!

Jo didn't get any ice cream, but the wrapper was just as good!