Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week 42 - Too close, too close!

Gone are the days where Lilah will happily pose on her fabric, on her back.  Gone are the days where she'll happily pose in front of her fabric, on her bum.  With my crazy boy, a TON of snow, and my dad visiting, this is the best I could get.

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Hey look!  I see Kameron's cute green fabric in the background!  Hey, Lilah, go back there!!  And take that crazy (but totally awesome and worth the money) binky out of your mouth!  Her hair was beyond wild, so I thought I'd try a hat in honor of our winter weather, but it didn't quite go.  And where'd that red balloon come from???  Ugh!  Aidan's photo shoot sabotage! 

Ok, hold on... I did get one photo before she crawled away.  Hat?  Wrong.  Binky?  Wrong.  And she insisted on holding that pink sock.    

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Hmmm... better luck next week?

Pssst!  If you click on the sidebar pic, I updated Lilah's weekly onesie photos over on flickr.  You're welcome. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From the mouth of Aidan Pod

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"Moak!" 

"No, honey, you can't have more milk right now."

"Moak RIGHT NOW!!!!"

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Chad dumps out some Mini-Wheats on the table...

"Don't dooooooo daht, Dada!  Mini-wheat all o'er da dable!"

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Aidan is looking for his Mack truck... thinks it's at Julie's, the sitter...

"Geh Mah duh at Ooo-wee's."

"Honey, your Mack truck is in the car."

"Mah duh no Ooo-wee's?  Mah duh in dar??  Yay!!!

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When he sees ANY red vehicle...

"Yightning!!!  Yightning dar!"  (for Lightning McQueen)

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In a very sad voice, he's been saying (at least once a day)...

"Ghah bo-ay Eeeee-uh."  (track broken at Sophia's.) 

Went to my friend Susan's and he found a train set he had played with the last time we were there with her daughter, Sophia ("ee-uh.")  We didn't want to set it up, so we pulled the old, "It's broken" line.  Bad parents. 

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To Tracy, the speech therapist, towards the end of her home visit...

"Go home!" (and he proceeded to open the front door to "show her the way.") 

We were laughing AND proud of his new words at the same time!

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Other words...

Hada! = tada!
whih-hoo = whistle
pah-gheh-do = popsicle (we like to pretend he's saying "Pa is ghetto.")
buh nay it = ????  (we like to pretend he's saying "butt naked."  heehee  Not that we EVER say that around our house.  But he seriously says it a lot, especially when he's at his train table.  I thought it meant chase it, but he says something different for that.)
"Yi-yah, don't dooooo dat!" OR "No, Yi-yah, mine!" OR "Moooove, Yi-yah!" = Lilah, stop touching my toys!

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----  Good news!  His final "k" sound is back (haven't heard it for a long time.)  He said, "yuck."  And for the first time ever, he said a really pronounced final "t."  While we were reading the Spooky Wheels on the Bus, he said, "bat."  He also said "wet" in the kitchen earlier.

Speech therapy, smeech therapy.  You're doing awesome, Pod!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menu planning... me???

Never thought me, Little Miss No Cook, would be writing a menu planning post.  Crazier things have happened I guess... like me actually being a whole hour early to pick up my dad from the airport.  My district is on mid-winter break, which is a full week, so Chad & I flew my dad up from Tucson, AZ, to meet Lilah, see my brother, and marvel at how Aidan's grown.   So I decided that 6 nights of family dinners meant some organization.  Some menu planning.

Took me awhile just to write my shopping list and even longer to shop, but luckily I've been cooking and trying out new recipes lately (I bought Jessica Seinfeld's second book, "Double Delicious"), so I kind of knew what I wanted to make.

So here goes the menu (Chadly approved & mostly good nutrition/low fat approved - whew!):

dinner -
Sunday - chicken pizza (from Double Delicious) -- had tonight.  Yum.
Monday - chicken canneloni (Double Delicious) -- Chad's favorite!
Tuesday - broccoli cheddar soup (Panera Bread copycat recipe found here)
Wednesday - seafood fra diavolo (from the back of a Ronzoni "gemelli" noodle box) -- made when Starlet was here.  And Kam's asparagus spears.
Thursday - chili & corn bread (Mom's recipe.)  There is a cornbread recipe in Seinfeld's book, but I'm going to stick with a package mix.  Since I'll be home alone with 2 kids and my dad, I need simple (Chad usually arrives in the middle or after dinner.) 
Friday - black bean burgers & sweet potato fries (Double Delicious)

breakfast options -
1) french toast w/banana puree (Deceptively Delicious)
2) pumpkin oatmeal (Deceptively Delicious) -- this is Aidan's breakfast, lunch, and dinner preference.
3) cold cereal, eggs, toast, etc.  The normal stuff.  : )

lunch options -
1) balsamic chicken sandwich (Double Delicious) -- haven't tried yet.
2) protein-packed grilled cheese (Double Delicious) -- It's actually a bean spread on whole wheat bread, topped with mozzarella & baked (what Lilah devoured a few weeks ago.)  The spread is similar to hummus (and a lot better, in my opinion!)  
3) leftovers, etc.  The boring stuff.  : )

dessert options -
1) ginger cookies (Double Delicious) -- these crazy cookies taste like soft gingersnap cake... but you'd never guess the secret "deceptive" ingredient!!  BLACK BEANS.  Can't taste 'em, I swear.  I'll be posting this recipe as soon as I can.
2) nothing else homemade planned as of yet.   
Nice part is Lilah will try everything listed above.  Aidan?  The oatmeal & the french toast.  Seriously.  Don't get me started on how frustrated I am with that kid... he's lucky he has "sensory integration disorder" as a partial excuse.  : ) 

Figured I throw in one recipe, from tonight...

CHICKEN PIZZA
(my rotisserie chicken version - Jessica Seinfeld's version uses cooked chicken with lots of spices... I find the rotisserie chicken is tasty enough without adding anything.)

* 1 rotisserie chicken from the deli
* pizza dough (either fresh from bakery, Boboli brand, or Pillsbury brand found in the refrigerated section)
* shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1 cup jarred spaghetti sauce (she calls for 1 1/2 cups, but I always have extra since I'm using thick dough)
* 1/2 cup carrot puree (I use one 4 oz. jar Earth's Best carrot puree from baby aisle)
* toppings of your choice (fresh basil, peppers, mushrooms, etc.)

This is the 2nd time I've made this and it so easy... and delicious!  The easy part?  I bought a rotisserie chicken from Safeway and pulled off the meat into bite-size pieces.

Went to the bakery and asked for 2 things of "pizza dough" (they just give me hunks of dough they use to make their french rounds & loaves. Yummy, but don't except a typical round pizza - even Chad couldn't roll into in circle! It was sort of kite-shape.) Next time, I'm going to try out their wheat dough.  Never been a big Boboli fan, so this bakery dough thing just sort of happened when I was talking to an employee.  Anyone else have a quick n' easy pizza dough suggestion??   I know, I could probably make it from scratch, right?  : )

Slather on the spaghetti sauce (Bertoli is my fave) and carrot puree mix (I've tried pureeing carrots myself, but it's nearly impossible to get them smooth.  Don't even try.)

Add the chicken (1 chicken covered 2 pizzas), other toppings (I used sliced red pepper rings & lots of fresh basil), and mozzarella.  I didn't measure the cheese - just used enough to cover the toppings. 

Bake at 450 for 12-17 minutes. Serve with a garden salad topped with a yummy balsamic vinaigrette dressing. We were all full after 2 pieces... the crust is THICK and the chicken is filling! In fact, the 2nd pizza is sitting in the fridge, waiting for tomorrow's fridge-raiding.
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Sorry, no pictures.  My mom always says I can't have a blog post without pictures, but my camera card's downstairs, where my dad is sleeping.  So I'll upload sometime this week, in between hanging out with the kids, entertaining Papa Simon, cooking all these meals, cleaning up after all these meals, and... oh yeah, pulling my hair out.  : )   

Friday, February 18, 2011

Better late than never

As I was cleaning off my desk last night, I found my stack of extra Christmas cards (you know, the ones I meant to give my friends whose addresses I didn't have because my stupid computer crashed three weeks before Christmas taking all of my address with it???  Whoa, that was a long sentence.)  Anyway, I realized I never posted my card online, for all of my virtual friends to see! 

So... without further adieu... Merry Christmas 2010!!  : ) 

(recognize the big fat fake family photo?  Yep, it made it on the card.  Just ignore my bad hair day headband.)

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I printed them out at Costco, $.39 each for a 5x7.  The expensive part is actually buying the envelopes.  But I found some online that were self-stick!!  That's the only way to go.  And I think I might keep up the tradition of the "mini-Christmas letter" on the card.  Worked out well.  If you didn't receive yours this year, sorry!!  Hopefully my computer will be cooperating this winter (fingers crossed.)

Now back to enjoying my kid-free moment (naptime!!)  : ) 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cinderelly, Cinderelly

Now that I've finally stopped blushing from this post, I can focus on something else less sweet & romantic... chores.

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A clean person, I am not.  I am the Oscar to every Felix.  I mean well, I try to pick up, but somehow it just doesn't happen.  I once laughed at my co-worker who was shocked when I said my classroom was a mess, and her reply was, "Really??  I thought you were such a clean person!"  Whatever gave you that idea???  Well, my house was spotless when I had some friends over for a girl's night.  Of course - company was coming, so I cleaned my butt off!

I've always thought about a cleaning schedule, but it never seemed so easy (or fun) until I saw this post on the blog, New England Through Yummy Mommy's Eyes (introduced by Kam.)  She has a weekly chore chart (just for her, not the kids) that she framed and hung in her kitchen.  As she completes each task, she simply crosses it off with a dry erase marker.  Easy peasy!  No wasting paper, nothing taking up space on the fridge, no list on a notepad that gets buried under bills.  She also added weekly appointments/events, and put less chores on those nights.  I originally had Aidan's speech/OT appointments on there, but they've changed, so I took 'em off.

I whipped up my version on Word, printed it out at school (our printer is down for the count right now - what's up with me and electronics?  Sheesh!), found some scrapbook paper at Michael's, and took it to Kinko's to photocopy.  Bought a cute dry erase marker and a white frame at Target, and voila!

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It's also come in handy for scheduling stuff or lovey-dovey lovenotes (I know, barf.)

I have slacked off a bit since I hung it.  There's always that gung-ho week when you first start something.  Notice how EVERYTHING is crossed off.  Well, as soon as I got my horrible flu bug, I got behind a little.  But I'm back on track this week.  And it's not like I didn't do these tasks before, but just not on a weekly basis.  Duh.  There's less to clean if I do it more often!  Vacuuming is a tough one, because Aidan has sensory issues with vacuum cleaner noise. So I have to wait until Chad's home or when Aidan's in a rare, tolerant mood.

chore list

(What's not included... daily must-dos, like dishes, laundry, picking up toys, etc.  I didn't want to bog myself down with TOO many.)

My main goal??  The litter box.  I've never scooped it daily and I always want to, so this list is definitely helping.  And bathroom scrubbing.  That was going by the wayside too.  Oh, and dusting... what's that??  Now I'm realizing how little dusting I have to do if I just do it weekly.

Ok, so that's a lot of goals.  Mainly, I just want to be cleaner. I'm not trying to reach Martha Stewart status or anything.  Just need it liveable.  And if I miss a task on Tuesday, I can do it on Wednesday and cross it off!  Oh, how I love crossing things off. 

(and by the looks of this picture, I think I should add, "Finish painting laundry room and put away Christmas wreath" to my list of chores.  And we're still debating about putting the countertop back... it doesn't fit the same with our new washer/dryer set.)

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So that's what I've been doing... what do you do cleaning-wise?  Any secrets?  Tips?  Chore charts?  Share, share!  Ok, gotta go scoop the litter box now.  Fun times.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011 - By Chad

So I was thinking that, on Valentine's Day, I would surprise Heatherkins by writing a blog about her. Now that we're finishing out our 7th year of marriage, (see here) I can stop and think about how our life has been so far.

We've gotten to that critical "7 year" mark where couples learn about what each-other are really like. A lot of it probably has to do with kids coming into the picture, and a lot of it probably has to do with changes in work, and other responsibilities. Any anomalies in a marriage that haven't been discussed, are probably discussed at this point. So after all of that, what's it like to be married to Heather?

Well, it's really good! I know of nobody else who has Heather's ability to offer love despite how difficult things can get. I know of nobody else who will commit to their family the way that Heather commits to hers. (Heather's infinite patience with Aidan and Lilah and, of course, me... is the kind that everyone hopes they will be lucky enough to find in the girl they marry.) It's the kind of patience that we all know will lead to a long-lasting relationship where obstacles can be overcome and challenges can be handled. Her patience is the kind that we all remember in our own parents, when we became "teenagers", and that we reflect on as adults and respect them for.

All I know, is that my son and daughter are the luckiest kids in the world, and if I had to be born again, I'd pray for Heather to be my mom. (No offense to my Mom of course. She did a fine job.) So my dreams have come true... since I get to have her as my wife and grow old with her.

Thanks for hanging in there with me baby!

Love,
   Chad

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lilah @ 9 months

9 months later...

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... we have a crawling baby.  A fast-crawling baby.

... we have a couch cruiser, a puller-upper, a tugger of pant legs.

... the crib has been dropped to the bottom rung.

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... a 21 lb, 15-ouncer sits on my hip.

... we have two kids in the tub together (well, when Aidan's not completely freaking out that Lilah's invading his precious splashing space.)

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... a great eater has been created.  Her favorites lately?  Gnawing on a chicken leg and munching on toast covered in a white bean/garlic spread and topped with mozzarella (a Double Delicious recipe.)  I've been following a great book called, "Baby Led Weaning."  Highly recommended!!  Lilah's been off pureed food or anything spoon-fed since 6 1/2 months old and is doing great!  Wish I could say the same about my spoon-fed, picky 2 1/2 year old.  Ugh.  The premise of the method is to avoid purees completely, which sort of makes sense now.  Lilah's much better with her fine motor and she hardly ever chokes/gags or overstuffs.  Aidan had another gamut of issues, but I wish I had tried it with him!  Live and learn, live and learn.

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... the Flock of Seagulls hair still lingers.

... we've been listening to a wide range of babbles, giggles, growls, and squeals.  No definite words yet, but a start.

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... we hear two little bottom teeth crunching on apples and rice crackers.

... the stairs have been discovered.  And thanks to Daddy, falling down the stairs can now be checked off the "milestones" list.

... we have a baby wearing 12-18 month sized clothes and completely outgrowing her hand-me-down/gift spring dresses.  Thus, the reason for the indoor strappy dress photo shoot.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside

I guess I should've knocked on wood harder when I said I hope Aidan doesn't get the flu.  Puking ALL day.  Ugh!!  Chad is hiding in a bubble right now.  Seriously.  It's like an outbreak lockdown around here.  But the plus side to having a sick child on the couch (watching Cars for the, um, 3rd time) is that I finally had time to capture some onesie shots of Lilah!  (Just when I said "I quit...") 

39 weeks onesie

I tried inside the house at first, but the lighting was crappy.  And she seriously crawled away everytime I sat her on her rump (maybe the proximity of the oh-so-tempting stairs had something to do with it.)  So I looked high and low for a place with great lighting and came up with a big fat nothin'.  Until I looked at the front porch.  Ah-ha!  Great natural light!! 

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Great light, but freezing cold temps!  But I thought, if she would just sit still long enough for one picture, I could whip her right back inside.  Little did I know, my polar baby would LOVE it out there, although it might have had something to do with both of my cats circling her.

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Don't worry, Mommies, she was literally out there for a minute.  Or two.  That's the bonus of a fast picture-taking camera.

I taped the fabric to the side of the house with blue painter's tape and went for it.  Not bad.  Makes me excited for natural lighting pictures again, especially now that the bean is sitting up (even if she doesn't stay put!)

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Taking a sick day tomorrow to stay home with Aidan.  Time for everyone to BE WELL.