Gram had lots of new toys for Alex including a lawn mower. (Picture courtesy of Mom)
Month: June 2010
The blog title is a direct quote from Wade this evening. He’s spent the day working on a new shed. Our old rubbermaid shed finally collapsed. We’ve been storing everything in the garage, but that only works until winter when my car needs a home. Wade spent the day buying supplies and framing the shed:
I spent the day painting, running errands, mowing, and finishing my book.
Alex gets a breakfast of pancakes and bacon. Gram tried to put syrup on his pancake and he would have none of it. (Picture courtesy of Mom).
I have no idea how long M&M has been making pretzel M&Ms, but I just discovered them. Yum! They aren’t carried everywhere so I have hunted and found a few gas stations in Milwaukee that carry them. I buy multiple bags at a time and stash them. Speaking of which, I am out. Time to make a chocolate run.
Alex is spending the week with Gram and sleeps in his first morning till 7 AM (picture courtesy of Mom).
Alex is spending the week with his Gram and we are spending the week in Milwaukee. Wade and I woke up really early this morning in Paducah, took a 6 am flight from Paducah to Chicago, and then drove to Milwaukee. We got home and still had the entire day ahead of us. Wade ran a few errands and did a few things at the Community House. I started on my list of projects. First up is painting the doors for the bookshelves and stripping the man-door for the garage:
This was the second trip (of three) to the pool for the day. We are visiting Dad and Laura and they have one in the backyard – so convenient!
Alex napped about 5.5 hours yesterday. We decided to spend as much time in the pool again today and see if the same thing happened. We went out about 6:30 and played for over an hour:
Alex did nap for two hours and then we had a quick swim before family brunch at the country club. We might have forced this pool time a little much. Alex kept wanting to go inside:
Our napping scheme continued to work and Alex slept for three hours (and we slept for two). Then it was back to the pool:
Pool side snack.
We are spending the weekend with my Dad and Laura. They have a full house so Alex is sleeping in the closet (in his pack-n-play) in our room. He woke us up at 6 am and we headed straight to the pool. We played until time for a nap and he slept 2 hours. Then we headed back to the pool. Alex did really well in the water, but was just as happy running around. His snack of cheerios provided quite a bit of entertainment:
Then it was time for lunch, a little visiting with Ken (Laura’s Dad) and Pete (the cat), and testing Pete’s toy:
We had a crazy morning of last minute packing and swim class. We finally got the three of us loaded up in two cars and started the drive south. The first stop was the the FedEx facility to pick up a lens. The second stop was at Chick-fil-A for lunch. The third stop was the airport in Chicago (dropping Wade’s car off). Then we were in the car for a good 5+ hours. Alex promptly fell asleep for an hour or so:
Then we stopped for gas and to stretch our legs:
Nap is over – I think.
I will never understand why certain items are interesting to kids. Alex found the lotion and no-slip runner in the bathroom and carried them around all morning.
I know I am going to regret writing this post, but here goes. Alex is an awesome sleeper. At 16 months old he is still taking two naps a day. The morning nap is usually 2 hours long and the afternoon nap is between 1.5-2.5 hours long. He doesn’t quite sleep 12 hours at night anymore, but usually 11. The best part is when we put him down he doesn’t cry. He may talk to himself (occasionally for hours) at night, but he is content to be in his crib and eventually drifts off to sleep. If only I could get him to sleep past 6 AM.
I have been trying more new recipes and we’ve actually liked the majority of them (a rarity for us). Two of our favorites are listed below (both from Cooking Light):
Maple-Mustard Pork Chops:
4 pork chops
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Sprinkle both sides of pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through, but with a slight blush in the center. Remove from pan; keep warm.
3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add butter to pan, swirling pan to coat. Add shallots; sauté 3 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add broth; bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute. Stir in mustard, syrup, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick. Return pork to pan. Cook pork 1 minute on each side or until thoroughly heated (be careful not to overcook pork). Serve pork with sauce.
Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken:
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 (6-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/3 cup panko
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to buttermilk mixture, turning to coat.
3. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Combine panko, nuts, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; discard buttermilk mixture. Dredge chicken in panko mixture.
4. Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 13 minutes or until chicken is done.
Daddy and son doing what they do.
A few weeks ago Alex began to attempt stepping up or over things in his path. Now he is desperately trying to figure out how to climb onto things like the couch, a chair, etc. Currently he knows that he needs to lift his leg. That’s as far as he gets before he starts crying for help (and I start laughing). Until today I hadn’t seen him use the same maneuver to signal he wanted out of his crib.
Don’t raisins make everyone smile?
Alex has always loved to look out windows. He has recently discovered the upstairs window overlooking the backyard.
In adoption news, our home study has been completed and approved! We wrote a check and are now officially on the South Korean wait list. The current wait time is 12-18 months. We’ll then receive a referral – containing pictures and medical information about a child. We will be given a week or so to accept the referral. The only reasons not to would be based off of a doctor’s evaluation of the medical information. Then we have the 3-6 month wait for paperwork in Korea before we can fly to pick up the child.
What holiday would be complete without a family picture? We decided to shake things up a bit and take the picture in the tree house. As usual there were quite a few pictures where we weren’t “ready”.
Wade got to choose our lunch plans and chose Gilles. After sandwiches and fries, I got custard and Wade got a slushy. Alex didn’t seem interested in either. Wade was super excited by his gifts from Alex – Wallace and Gromit DVDs. I’m sure they’ll enjoy watching them together:
The rest of the day Wade spent working on our porch and gutters (fun chores for Father’s Day, huh?) and I snuggled with Alex. I’m pretty sure his molars are coming in and he’s having a rough go of it. I couldn’t believe he wanted to snuggle all day and even fell asleep on me for an hour (this is after his two hour afternoon nap). I hate that he isn’t feeling 100%, but I loved the snuggles.
Yup, that’s my little boy who never likes to be rocked or fall asleep in anyone’s arms. I think teething is hitting him hard this round.
Wade and I spent the day working on the Community House – mostly doors, hardware, and a little electrical. Alex spent the day with a babysitter. They obviously had fun with his roller coaster in the grass. I can tell by the crop circles that I see from our second floor window:
We came out of the rummage sale pretty well – about $160 (mostly due to Wade’s tool sales). The bad part is all the stuff that didn’t sell. Now I have to find somewhere to put it.
In long overdue news – Wade is installing our steps! It’s a three drill process but it’s getting done.
Tomorrow the deck!
I left Wade in charge of taking today’s picture.
Watching Dad work on the front steps (and trying to beat the rain).
Today was the neighborhood’s yearly rummage sale. Just like last year we set up at Amber’s house (although the temperature was MUCH cooler last year). The boys played in the pool and drew with chalk:
I think the heat finally got to Alex. He was quite grumpy but finally settled down in Amber’s arms:
The rest of the day the boys spent riding Abram’s cars and running around the backyard. Abram tried to read Alex a book, but Alex couldn’t keep focused:
We got home just in time to watch Wade try to install our front steps before the rain hit. He managed to get one board screwed in.
Abram and Alex loved playing in the water.
It was an Abram and Alex day. We loaded up for the Zoo after Alex’s morning nap and had a snack as we walked:
This is the first trip to the Zoo that Alex seemed to notice the animals. I think he would have happily stood there all day watching the hippopotamus.
Then we stopped into the dairy farm where Alex learned to drive the truck and take a turn riding:
Next up was a ride on the train. Abram tried to hold Alex’s hand (at our request), but he wasn’t quite ready for that:
Then we fed the goats. Both boys loved it. Alex would take his pellets and literally shove them in the goat’s mouth. No fear after living with Madison:
Alex was worn out so we went home for lunch and a two hour nap. Then it was time to play in the pool!
Amy dropped by with some pumpkin (yeah!) and while we were talking Abram took quite a fall. He cut the inside of his mouth and Amber gave him a popsicle to get something cold on the cut. Abram’s biggest concern was that Alex didn’t have a popsicle too. So Alex had his first popsicle:
The silliness that ensues before bedtime. (Picture taken by Wade.)
I was thumbing through a baby food recipe book and found a recipe for pumpkin pancakes. I thought that would be perfect. Alex loves pancakes and used to always like pumpkin. Then I realized you can’t buy canned pumpkin right now. I went to two grocery stores before I found out that there is a national pumpkin shortage and they won’t be back in stock until September 2010. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about this, so I looked it up on the internet and found this article. Now I am hoping someone I know has a can of pumpkin they will part with because I really want to make the pancakes. In fact, I want some pumpkin bread too.
After six years of marriage, Wade and I both know how to fix the other’s drinks perfectly. Wade likes a lot of ice. I like two cubes. I don’t actually want any ice, but I do like my drink cold. Two cubes is enough to chill the drink and melt quickly. If I could just figure out a faster way to get there. My normal routine is to drink some during dinner. Then I come back a little later and finish off my glass. Wade quickly learned when clearing the table not to take my glass. This is what a perfect glass of water (or Strawberry Crystal Light) looks like to me.
Haircut in the middle of a rain storm.
I always avoided the cherry tomatoes in salads and just assumed I wouldn’t like them in anything else. It turns out I love them cooked. We tried the recipe below from the Williams-Sonoma Chicken cookbook (courtesy of Melissa) and thought it was a little bland, but not bad. I have to admit it would definitely look good on the table – the red and green really pop. We don’t like olives so we left those out and I didn’t bother to buy yellow cherry tomatoes. I think next time we might try cooking the chicken in the wine.
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbs. chopped shallot
2 cups halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes or whole small cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup pitted, coarsely chopped black Mediterranean olives
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to an even thickness
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, olives and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are heated through but not collapsed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pan. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and firm when pressed in the centers, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Return the vegetables to the pan and cook for 1 minute to reheat, stirring once or twice. Transfer to a warmed platter and top with the chicken breasts. Serve immediately with hot rice.
It turns out magnets are a wonderful thing – especially when I am trying to cook dinner.
A lazy kind of Sunday.
We had a very lazy day today. Alex and Wade spent quite a bit of time together on the couch:
Playing was hard work so Alex needed a drink and a short rest:
Hershey’s Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) or line with paper bake cups.
2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.
3. Bake 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan. Cool completely. About 30 cupcakes
Alex has been adamant about eating the same things as I do. He is equally determined I will not feed him with utensils. I finally decided to let him have a spoon or fork and see how he did. The first day I loaded the spoon and he got a few bites of couscous into his mouth. Today he actually managed to eat some of the macaroni and cheese off the fork. (On a side note: He normally won’t eat pasta but I think the novelty of the fork came into play.)
My favorite part was watching him put macaroni on the fork. Half of the time he would stab at it. The other half he would pick up a single piece with his fingers and then try to put it on the fork.
Getting a ride in the Jeep from Abram.
Today was another play day with Abram. The boys had a lot of fun in Abram’s backyard with all of the cars and trucks:
Then there was a stop for water before Abram drove Alex around in the Jeep:
Guess who just learned to take off his shoes?
I have talked about Alex’s Angel Dear blankets quite a bit. We have six (Monkey, Moose, Frog, Bear, Puppy, and Dalmation) and he loves them all. Although Moose does seem to get a little more personal time. Most days when I get him out of his crib at least one of them comes with us. If he decides to carry one around all day, he ends up chewing on one of the corners. If he is drinking milk, he takes the corner and rubs his cheek – so cute!
Alex went to bed at 6:30 pm and woke up at 7:30 pm. Evidently he thought he was taking a nap. Wade took him down to the shop to play a little before putting him back to bed.
Not quite sure the nap is really over.
(This was after his second nap with a total of 5 hours for the day)
When he was about 10 months old, I packed up all the cute burp cloths that didn’t have Alex’s name on them to save for the next baby. That still left quite a few burp cloths and they were great for catching all the drool and random clean-ups. As I was putting up Alex’s laundry today, I realized I haven’t used a burp cloth (for any reason) in months. I think it’s time to pack these up too (and get rid of a few).
I have been avoiding work for the last four days. I finally turned it in today and feel like I can enjoy life again. I was even project-productive and got the front steps primed (the rain is causing quite a delay in this project):
Then suddenly it was time for dinner. Alex woke up grumpy from his afternoon nap. Wade had a yucky day at work. I wanted to make everybody happy. I decided on our comfort food of choice – Cornflake chicken. It’s easy to make and we all love it. Melt butter, dip chicken nuggets in butter, then in crushed cornflakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Nothing could be easier. Now Wade is off doing projects, Alex is asleep, and I am about to read my book. Life is good.
Morning snuggle with entourage – 4 Angel Dear blankets (Moose, Monkey, Bear, and Frog) and a stuffed frog.