Wednesday, February 28, 2007

glass half full


It's everywhere.
I survey the scene, noticing the discarded pull up over by the window. It's on the carpet, his bed, his shirt, pants, arms, legs and on the heels of his little white sport socks. James, having been quarantined to a plastic tote lid, looks up at me and says, "Sure am glad it's not on my eyes, mom."

He takes after his father.

I had my doubts


but chocolate fountains do deserve a place in this world.
I went to a fondue party with my flockers last night and had a really good time. I limited my cheese intake but made up for it at the chocolate fountain. What a miracle of modern science! Fresh & warm chocolate flowing freely...amazing!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

summer lovin'


After a long snowy weekend I am sure thinking about spring! One of my favorite things about living in the Madison area is that there are so many awesome kid-friendly parks and playgrounds. I wasn't blogging yet last summer but if I had been, nearly every post would have mentioned some trip to one park or another. Ruby was a tiny thing and slept all the time. It was fabulous for James & I. So many times we would leave in the morning and she would just sleep through most of our activities - seriously, almost 3-4 hours, waking up only to eat. I would move her from the car seat to the sling or stroller and she would just snooze away. What a blessing that was! Anyways, I got to thinking about this summer and what I'd like to do as a family. I thought I'd make a list to refer back to over the next couple months, when I'm feeling desperate. :)

Go see a movie at the SkyVue drive in in Monroe (local)
Go to Milwaukee for the Zoo & the Public Market (day trip)
Go to the Dells for a Duck Ride and a smaller water park (day trip)
Go to Little Amerricka (day trip)
Go to Minneapolis to see family, go to Como Park Zoo & Mall of America (longer trip)
Camp in backyard (local) (ha!)
Devil's Lake (day trip) (multiple visits, I'm sure)
Dane County Fair (local) (LOVE the fair!)
Head up to Duluth to see family, spend time at Canal Park (longer trip)
And then there's all my favorite regular haunts:
Olbrich Gardens
Farmers' Market
Monona Terrace Rooftop
Memorial Union Terrace
State St

What are your favorite summertime activities? :)

Friday, February 23, 2007

HAHAHAHAHAHA


Wrong Font Chosen For Gravestone - from The Onion -
this just about killed me last night.
Sometimes they get it just right.

Also cracking me up today:
This post at Looky, Daddy! and this one at finslippy.

laziness: dreams vs reality

After a late night with Kate at B&N, where I found out she has real issues with Curious George - "The monkey - he needs to be punished!", I am really wishing I could lay on the couch all day snoozing and watching TV. With some snacking are reading thrown in for good measure. I would have a Bacon Cheeseburger & Onion Rings from Culvers for lunch with a single scoop of the flavor of the day for dessert - knowing that all that dairy wouldn't bother rubys' stomach one bit. I would watch Dancelife, Top Design and The Real Housewives of Orange County until I felt sick. I would read Plainsong, Real Simple and something else from the pile of 20 library books I have upstairs until I got sleepy. I would check my email, read my favorite blogs, and take a nap. When I got up I would go to Target and have a coffee while I shopped for plain t shirts for my kids for the summer (because they will be gone by the time the warm weather hits, trust me). Then I would meet Patrick for dinner at Chin's and we would come home and watch a movie or play Cribbage. Then we'd go to bed. sigh. Lovely.

But, instead, I will go back upstairs and read James another book while we sit on the couch. Then I will eat some breakfast before Ruby wakes up from her 2+ hour nap. We are having a pretty lazy morning, the 3 of us. Just a different version of lazy.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

a good read

This is an adorable book, you can buy it here or find it at your local library. Like most kids, James loves a good box. This book made him laugh out loud...especially the fire page. Check it out!

the longest day of his life, thus far

James waited aaaaaaaaaall day for gramma to get here.

busybusybusy

We had such a busy day yesterday, listen to all we accomplished...We went to the post office, dropped books at the library, went to Woodmans for groceries, went to the zoo, went to Whole Foods for other groceries and finally got home at around 2pm. I guess that doesn't sound like much but trust me, with 2 small children, it's a ton. It was a beautiful day, though, and it felt soooo good to be outside.

This morning we had to be to the dr. by 9:30 for Ruby's 9 month appointment. Patrick met us there and entertained James while I had Ruby in with the doc for over an hour. We love Dr. Ann but she is always running late so our appointments run long with the wait time. Her office is close to Patrick's job so he always meets us...isn't that sweet? I think so. James is like a wild animal at times and I think it would be nearly impossible to keep him under control and pay any attention to what's going on with Bubles.

Sidenote regarding James' wild animalness: I like to give him a chance to be free (ie: out of the cart or stroller) in stores and practice his listening skills. He feels like such a big boy and has lots of fun. I, on the other hand, am exhausted at the end of these jaunts even if he was really good. Yesterday at Whole Foods I let him be out and it felt like I didn't stop talking to him the ENTIRE trip through the store. "James, stay by Mom. James, don't touch that. James, watch out, honey. James, NO. James, come on now." You get the idea. Of course, Whole Foods at lunch time isn't the best place in the world to practice listening skills but we survived. And, I got some orange essential oil which I will post about later. Oooooooh, I hope the suspense doesn't kill you. hahahaha.

Anyways, after the dr. we met Kate & Natalie at Keva for Open Gym. It was fun but we only stayed a little over an hour because Ruby was just exhausted by this time. James really liked t- ball today and I got a little video of him hitting. You can see some other pics from our morning here. Oh, and all is well with Miss Ruby. She looks great, says Dr. Ann, and is the girl version of James. :) (looks wise, according to her)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

my dad, he's special

This is a picture he sent me this morning. He's got a frozen septic system again and he's determined to fix it himself. HAHAHA. JUST KIDDING for those who might think this is possible.

Isn't he creative? Creative & retired...a dangerous combination.

there's a man in here?


You can see more pictures from our morning zoo trip here.

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tubby time

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Finally...

For the past 2.5 years our weekend breakfasts have usually included some type of pancake. Now, don't get me wrong, I do love me some pancakes but that whole "law of diminishing returns" thing (with pancakes being the input and pleasure being the output) does kick in after a while. I recently found a simple french toast recipe over at the Tasty Vegan blog and was so excited to try it. I have seen others but they normally include some odd ingredient that I don't keep on hand...this one is pretty basic and looked promising.

My mom was here last weekend and wanted to make some standard French Toast on Monday morning. I made the T.V. version after she was done and was so happy with the results! I changed it a little bit, replacing 2T. of flour with 2T. of cornmeal. The cornmeal idea comes from these waffles, which are delicious - you should try them! It adds a nice little bit of crunchy texture to the outside. I used whole wheat flour and, along with the cornmeal, it tended to sink a little bit in the milk. A brief stir before each dunking took care of the problem.

James loved his "new toast" and my mom said she could hardly tell the difference. (They do have a slightly egg-y texture that will please anyone used to standard french toast.) Yay! for adding something new to our breakfast repertoire.

ruby's tuesday


(you've come a long way, baby)

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Friday, February 16, 2007

good news


James announced that he had to go potty this morning with NO prompting! This is a first and it makes me very happy. He felt pretty good about it, too. (see him racing around the "world" in celebration)

Ruby turned 9 months old yesterday! I should have written some long emotional post about her but oh, well. She celebrated by pushing through her bottom two teeth and having her first pretzel (with beer, of course.)


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Thursday, February 15, 2007

meet the flockers

So. I've been going to this meeting for moms at our church every other Thursday - it's called Titus. Last week I was thinking that it's almost more trouble than it's worth. It's early, it's in Madison, the kids both cry when I drop them off, blah blah blah. I was really looking for a Bible study geared towards parenthood and this is more of a "time away" for moms, with a different speaker every time and then time with your flock. ahem. You heard me right, your flock.

The flock is a small group that you are placed in based on where you live. Because, heaven knows, you can't make friends with those who live more than 20 miles from you. hahaha. I think the name is corny but I'm sure they have their reasons. I feel like one of the older ones in my flock (because I am) and hadn't really gotten to know anyone yet. I almost didn't go this week but prayed about it and trusted that if it was supposed to work out, it would. It did. We were all up early and in relatively good spirits (aside from the pooping issue that Ruby was struggling with) so Patrick helped me out and we made it on time, even 5 minutes early! (8:40 - see, I'm not making up the early part.)

The topic today was finances, which has really been on my mind & heart for a while. I feel like we are blessed financially - not filthy rich, but nicely comfortable - and sometimes it seems like we're not being wise with what we have. Money is a very personal issue so I'm not going to get into details but I think money stuff impacts almost all of us in one way or another. Almost everyone at my table this morning was nodding along and had something to talk about during our flock time. (hahahha - that just cracks me up) So what happened is what I had hoped would happen...I got to talking with some people and really enjoyed myself. So, I'm happy. It was a really good morning, I learned some stuff, got to have some good conversation, and James & Ruby did really well.

I was feeling really emotional around the holidays. I wasn't sure why exactly but just knew that I really needed some changes in my life. I think my life had gotten very small, as they say, and being home with 2 kids (& having James give up his nap AND start waking up earlier) was feeling very challenging (read: awful). Now, don't get me wrong, I think it IS very challenging but not as bad as it was feeling then. I definitely still have really hard days and times but the little & not so little things that have happened have made a HUGE difference for me. We found a church that Patrick and I both really like, I started going to Titus - which gives me a break from the kids and some time with other women, I've met some more women in my town, and I joined the gym. I still need to find a babysitter so my husband & I can get some regular time together, outside of the house, and I want someone to come over and be with the kids while I am here doing other stuff maybe once or twice during the week.

I remember meeting Kate one night around Christmas time and feeling like EVERYTHING in the world was wrong. I was upset about normal mom stuff, stuff within our playgroup, global warming, pork contamination...you name it. Some little thing had happened with another woman in our group and it was bothering me SO MUCH. Talking with Kate made me realize that I really had all my eggs in one basket - our playgroup. Now this group has been a total blessing for 3 years, and still is in a lot of ways, but I was just really ready for more. Kate, I just have to thank you again for being such a good friend & listener.

So, anyways, that's what's on my mind today. I really use this blog as a journal of our daily lives and don't normally have time to post anything in depth. I want to remember this, though, because it really feels like a turning point for me and I am so grateful. I don't think any of this good stuff happened by chance - it's all been in answer my prayers & the prayers of those who love me. Thank you. xoxo

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweeties


James didn't want to be photographed for this edition. But he loves his balloon.
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A cruel twist of fate

Now that James is old enough
to look utterly ridiculous wearing a bib,
he understands their value and requests them regularly.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

oh, bunny


You are my very favorite.

I thank God for you every day and am thrilled that you're my Valentine.

xoxoxoxoxo

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bumpersand*

*bum·per·sand
–noun
a character or symbol (&) for and that you get on your childs' bum when you use newspaper for a changing pad
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Ignorance is Bliss/Knowledge is Power


James is becoming familiar with the clock. He can usually tell you what hour it is and is slowly learning the whole before/after concept. We are also using it now to let him know when things will happen, such as, "When the big hand is on the 3, it's time to go upstairs." And so on. Today I told him that his quiet time would be up when the big hand was on the 6. When the big hand was on the 5 all was quiet in his room so I decided to jump in the shower. It was so relaxing...I lit a candle and just stood there under the hot water letting my mind drift. Until the pounding started. I reluctantly turned off the water, jumped out, and got dressed. When I opened James' door he had this look of dismay on his face and was pointing at the clock. The big hand was on the 9. Oh, whoops. "Why didn't you turn it off at the 6, Mom? I was waiting."


Tell me again why we started teaching him to tell time?!

ruby's tuesday

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all by himself


This is what James did yesterday in his quiet time. I was very impressed with it and he was very proud. Can you tell? :)
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Monday, February 12, 2007

on my mind monday

I have so many little things on my mind this morning...I can't imagine combining them into one coherent post. Here's a list, instead.

  • I had such a good time Friday night with Kate. We met at the mall for the most productive hour of shopping EVER and then headed over to B&N to read, snack and talk. Thanks, Kate, that was really fun and I needed it. The better half of our shopping hour was spent in Gymboree where I got this and this for Ruby. They were having a great sale and I had a coupon and got Gymbucks for next month (obvious ploy - I'll see you there next month, Kate) but it still felt like a splurge. It is so darling, though, and I can't wait to put it on her. I also got James a winter jacket at Children's Place for next year...it's pretty cute and has a nice zip out liner.


  • We got a lot of snow! Yippee! I plan on taking James out this afternoon and will definitely remember our house key.


  • I got our Valentines in the mail today...hopefully they'll get most places on time. I also sent a little something to you, Jolee, so be on the lookout for it. Jolee sent us an awesome book and cd awhile ago and I've been meaning to post about it. We all just love it and Kohl's has it now for only $5...an amazing deal. A great Valentine's Day treat especially because 100% of the profits go to benefit kids!


  • I bought some Raspberry Extract a while ago and was so excited to make this. Unfortunately, mine turned out like this:(It reminds me of something one might see on an operating table after surgery.) sob. But, I brought out the extract again this morning and James & I made a simple drop cookie using that along with the called for vanilla. They are really good. Sadly, I tried to color the dough red and it turned out more of a salmon color. But! they taste good and we will happily bring them to Kate's tomorrow.

  • I joined the small local gym and am feeling pretty happy about it. They roped me in with an advertising scam but the rates are very reasonable and if I work out a specified number of times our insurance will reimburse me $100 for the year. They have some child care hours and are open until 9 a couple night a week. When the teething horror time is over I could even go in the morning, as they open at 5:00am. The owner is super nice and we talked for quite a while last Friday. She encouraged me to come to the local toddler time, too, and said she'd introduce me to some other moms. Her older daughter started out with all the same allergies as James and has outgrown them all, except mild peanut, by age 4. I love hearing those stories...they are so encouraging. I do have a feeling that James will outgrow his someday as well.

  • James is in his room for quiet time. Blogging brought to you in part by the Pack 'n Play.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

the drive home

We had an impromptu outing to the Monona Terrace this afternoon. James loved all the free space to roam around and we stayed until they kicked us out at 5:30. You can see more pics here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

true story.


James, coming down to the basement wearing only a diaper, "Mom! My chips are gone. I can't find the bag!"


Me, huddled over the computer while talking on phone to sister, "Go watch TV, I'll get you more in a minute!"

a work in progress

I finally printed out some pictures of our family for James' map. I have more to do but our printer was being a pain in the butt the other day. Once they're all on I'm going to draw lines to the correct city. James really likes it. After we put these up he stood back and was doing a little happy dance and greeting everyone. I would really like to make them smaller and do lots of cousins and friends, too. We'll see. I do love that I seem to be able to complete the occasional small project these days.

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just james

S: That light is so bright, James.
J: It's not as bright as the sun!

S: Here's your toast, buddy.
J: It's not very crunchy. Toast is supposed to be crunchy. I'd like some crunchy toast, please. And, my name is James.

S: Here's your hot chocolate.
J: But it's not hot. It's called hot chocolate, mom.


J: I will not cut you with a knife, mom.
S: er, thank you?
J: You're welcome!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

a very special sausage

A tribute.
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wednesday morning

busted



Our friends came over this morning and at one point Heidi noticed that it was awfully quiet upstairs. This is what she found when she opened James' door. A full roll of tape unwound and taped to the bed and James trying to cut it with a can opener. Why does James have a can opener in his room, you might ask.
Why not!?
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stand in the place where you live



This is all Ruby wants to do. If she can't pull up on you, she has no use for you. (unless you happen to be Patrick) (or a breast) This raises the childproofing bar quite a bit so we are fighting to stay on top of things. (so things don't end up on top of her) (like the tote of legos...but that was yesterday)

James, on the other hand, is very busy telling me how he feels. "I am not happy right now, Mom," "I am not happy at all," "I feel much happier." gag. And, he also chatters endlessly about God, especially while we are in the minivan for some reason. "Goooooood, where are you?" "Why are you up so high?" "Are you there, God, it's me James." (hahaha, that one I made up) "Why doesn't God have a car?"


Man, I love these kids.


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