Saturday, March 31, 2012

Preschool and Bison Burgers

Despite this being my spring break, it was something of a tough week. Nick has been going through a rather rebellious phase, with many temper tantrums and time outs galore. But not on Friday.   :)

On Friday, Nick was the relatively well-behaved three-year-old we know and love. Perhaps it was because of our trip in the morning. We registered Nick for preschool in the fall. He'll be going in the mornings to a four-day program run through our local school district. Nicholas was super-excited and cannot wait. We celebrated by taking the boys out for bison burgers at Ted's Montana Grill in Naperville.

I do believe that a medium-rare bison burger from Ted's is my favorite burger in the whole world. My mouth is watering even now just thinking of it. Did you know that preschools do not require potty training anymore? It's a good thing, too. Still no success on that front. Oh well, on to happier thoughts. . .

Henry is now old enough to eat pickles, bison, mushrooms, and french fries. He is also drinking from his own cup. Kind of.

I had some bison chili, too, and it was delicious. Nick and Greg split a vanilla shake. It was so thick they had to eat it with a spoon. Nick was sucking as hard as he could and he said, "It won't work!" I commented that it was pretty much the same thing as eating ice cream with lunch. Nick wasn't complaining, though.

I'm astounded that preschool is approaching so fast for Nick. It seems like just yesterday he was a tiny baby, and this summer we're going to have to go shopping for school supplies. You know what's even crazier? When I called to ask about preschool, the secretary could hear Henry crying in the background. "How old is he?" she asked. "Oh, he's only nine months old." Her reply? "So you'll be registering him in just two years." I was speechless. She was right, though. My babies are growing so fast. Maybe it is the bison burgers.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Henry's Nine Month Doctor Visit

Yesterday Nick and Henry and I went to the doctor for Henry's checkup. The verdict? He is a very happy baby!

Henry is growing fairly well, and eating like a champ. The doctor was impressed when I reported how he'd eaten half a turkey sandwich for lunch, complete with havarti cheese, avocado, tomato, and whole wheat bread. We're going to start weaning him off the baby food. I'm surprised he eats so well, seeing as he doesn't have any teeth yet. Our doctor said that both his top and bottom gums were pretty swollen, though, so I'm sure teeth aren't too far away.

Here are the numbers:
Weight: 19 lbs, 4 oz. (31st percentile)
Height: 27.2 in. (10th percentile)

As if to agree with the doctor that he's ready for more table food, Henry ate this feast tonight: steak, lots of broccoli, and mashed potatoes. I was impressed at how many broccoli chunks he was able to mash. My boy is growing up.   :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Arboretum Trip with Daddy

Greg took the boys to the Arboretum a few weeks back. Here are some pictures. Enjoy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Must Have Been Slacking

Last year, apparently I was slacking at the end of the season with my gardening. Greg had the boys outside the other day and Nick decided to check out the garden. While Greg was doing something else, Nick climbed into the garden. He climbed out eating one of these:

Greg said he plucked it right out of the dirt. Nick knew what it was right away, because he'd planted them last year and helped me pick them in the fall. I guess he ate several of them.

I started out last year with spectacular plans for a great garden. Nick helped me plant it. Then, you see, I had a baby. I sort of slacked off with the gardening for the rest of the season. I guess I forgot some carrots.

I am rather new to gardening, and I was not aware that carrots can survive under the ground all winter. I have a raised bed garden, so maybe that kept the soil warm. And it was a warm winter. . .

Monday, March 19, 2012

Standing and Even Dancing

Lately, Henry has been pulling up on everything and doing that little shuffle-sideways-walk that looks so cute and makes us all aware of how quickly he is going to be walking.

Here he is pulling up on the screen door.

You might notice our new screen door. Actually, we just had a handyman out to fix all of the wood on our front door area. Check out how bad it was last year. $2200 just to get a new door, screen door, and replace all of the rotted wood. Ahh, the joys of home ownership. Anyway, we're loving the new door. Henry spends half of his days looking out (or in, in this case).

We also had this handyman build a special wood thingie (she said with her highly technical vocabulary) to hold a gate securely. Henry can now dance with joy, and we can let him, without worrying about him climbing the stairs.

For some reason, he loves to wiggle his butt and shake the bars of the gate. I've caught him doing this (gleefully, each time) at least four times in the last two days. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Day of Sunshine and (Mostly) Good Luck

Neither Greg nor I come from an Irish background, though I have some Scotch-Irish ancestors. Regardless, the boys and I got into the spirit of things today. We all wore green. Henry is chewing on some Irish soda bread that Nick and I made this morning. He loved it!

On Saturdays, Greg works all day. Now that he's home with the boys all week during the day, Saturday is his only full day of working as a therapist. I'm finding things to do to keep us occupied without Daddy around. For starters, I gave both boys a bath. You know, for luck.

I even wore green shoes myself. I'm very happy with this pair of Dansko sandals. My feet can't handle anything else now that I've tried them.  I can only wear Dansko shoes, according to my podiatrist and ortho.

Actually, back to the subject of luck, I felt pretty lucky when I looked at this picture and saw that my ankle was pretty much back to normal size. Baby weight is gone. At least the baby weight from Henry. The baby weight from Nick. . . well, I'm still working on that. Anyhow, my ankles look positively trim compared to last June.

After the dressing in green, we decided to try something new. Last year I helped Nick make cookies with green sprinkles, but I wanted to try something more authentic this year. We made Irish Soda Bread with raisins. I didn't have any caraway (Nor do I know how to spell it. Had to look that one up.) and I used 3 cups of bread flour and 2 cups of white whole wheat flour. Other than that the linked recipe is exactly what we did. Here is Nick helping me squish the butter into the flour.

Nick only needed one time out the entire time we were baking. (For throwing a spoon across the room.) I'd call that some pretty good luck. I tend to have more patience while we're baking than at other times. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is the sweet reward at the end of the baking experience. Nick is learning to stir without getting flour all over everything.

Here's what the final soda bread looked like. (Look in the bowl.) It was sweet, but not too sweet. The raisins were perfect, and the texture was unique. I like it. Nick and Henry did, too.

We also did some neat St. Patrick's Day crafts. Nick decorated this shamrock with a big "N" for Nick. Then he stuck all the stickers on himself. He also stuck several stickers to the kitchen table, our hardwood floors, and the refrigerator. But the stickers came off without too much trouble. I'd call that pretty lucky.

Here's what his final project looked like. Not too shabby. Nick looks angry in this picture. It is because he had just refused to go to the potty. I think it's going to take even more than the luck of the Irish to potty train this boy.

I'd say that Henry liked his first St. Patrick's Day. I finally got him to clap on cue. This really made my day. I love when he responds and copies us.

Henry liked the Irish Soda Bread so much that he kept crawling to it and stealing pieces out of the bowl. I guess the crusty part must feel good against his teeth.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Zoo Trip

During Greg's first week of being stay-at-home dad, he took the boys to the zoo for the day. . . by himself.

From what I hear, they found lots of frisky animals. Nick was quite the terror himself that day--wilder than any of the animals.

Henry was especially enamored of the fish and other sea creatures.

Nick showed the ostrich his "Lightning McQueen" car.

I think the ostrich was impressed with it. While I know they loved the zoo, this was kind of a trial by fire for Greg. He's a very hands-on dad, but he hasn't often brought both boys out by himself.

I guess their day was filled with temper tantrums and ended with Nick being carried out while kicking and screaming. Greg is just getting used to being with the boys all day. I am a stay-at-home mommy every summer, and I told Greg that it was nothing he did. Some days are just like that.

I just looked at my facebook post from this day. Here's what I said. I wish I would've taken a picture of Nick's drawing.

"Greg took the kids to the zoo today. Nick and I were drawing pictures this evening of all the animals he had seen. We drew giraffes and alligators and birds. Then Nick drew a picture that I couldn't figure out, so I asked him about it.

"No, Mommy. That's not a aminal. Daddy was dragging me out of zoo."
"Why was Daddy dragging you?"
"Because I was mad and I said, "No, No" and Daddy carried me. I kicked and I scream.
So, basically, I asked my son to draw a picture of what he did at the zoo today and he drew himself throwing a temper tantrum. Sounds like Daddy had a stellar day.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Miracle in March?

I suppose you could call me crazy. Now that Greg works on Saturdays (he had nine clients in a row), I have the kids by myself all day. There are still, however, errands to run. Both boys needed shoes, and Henry was pretty much out of pants that fit his chubby man thighs. I wasn't planning on going shopping, but I had a momentary lapse of sanity. I made quite a rash and, in retrospect, mildly ill advised decision. I took both boys to the outlet mall by myself for a five-hour shopping expedition.

I fortified myself with a latte and headed off to Aurora with a ball of dread in the pit of my stomach. I thought about the epic tantrums Nick has had in the past when shopping with me. I pictured how embarrassed I was the last time I had to leave a store, pushing the stroller in one hand and carrying Nick thrown over my shoulder, shrieking at the top of his lungs. But. . .

Nick had not one tantrum. It was a March Miracle. Despite the way this blurry picture of Nick dancing frantically in the Baby Gap looks, Nick behaved very, very well. When we were in the Baby Gap, which wasn't very crowded, Nick actually asked permission to dance. "Mommy, can I please dance on the floor?" He even danced quietly.

Henry was a good boy, too. I don't feel like I did anything differently this time. Was this my good luck for the month (or the year)? I went to nine different stores, got both boys fitted at Stride Rite for shoes, and gave my debit card quite the workout. Check out these adorable Robeez I bought for Henry. They even have little tails at the heels.

All of the tantrum-reducing strategies that are usually ineffective with Nick worked this time. We took breaks frequently. After two stores, we stopped for lunch. Nick actually sat in a chair and ate Chinese food happily. He didn't throw anything. He stood or sat next to me and played with his toy train quietly. Henry napped and looked around, people-watching. Then, after a few more stores, we got a cookie treat. I gave Nick lots of praise. Henry absolutely loved his snickerdoodle.


Nick rode on the little rides several times, but each time, when the ride was over, he simply got off and held my hand. No crying, no screaming, no flinging himself to the floor. He was a little scared on the "rocket ship" ride. Can you tell?

Can you see Nick's fancy new shoes? He actually sat still and let the clerk measure his feet and put on the new shoes. It was a BOGO day, so I bought one pair for now and one in the next size up for both boys. I kept telling Nick how I loved his behavior. "Nick, I love how you held my hand right away when I asked. Good job!" (I normally do this, but it actually worked today!)

After our successful shopping trip, I took the kids to the park for some serious running and swinging. Henry is new to swings, but is an enthusiastic beginner.


Nick wanted me to swing him "up to the sky." This is the best I could do.

Would you believe I took the boys to Babies R Us and then met Greg for dinner, even after all that? It was a really busy day. I keep going over and over everything in my mind. What did I do right? Was this truly a March Miracle? Or is this what it is like if we ever get past the tantrum stage? (I am fervently hoping for the latter.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cheerio Cuteness

Henry has a thing for Cheerios. He can eat them all day, though his favorite thing to do is slap his highchair and make them go bouncing around.

I don't have much to say this week. After a week of administering state tests, I am feeling drained. But Henry's Cheerio Cuteness makes everything better. Bask in the cuteness.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Baking Banana Bread With Mommy

Nick is my budding little chef. All I have to do is mention the topic of cooking, and Nick is in the kitchen, trying to pull out his step stool. Last week we made banana bread with chocolate chips.

I've never been one to be afraid of a mess (just ask my husband), so lately, I let Nick do almost all of the steps in our recipes. He leveled off the measuring cups, stirred the ingredients, dumped the dry ingredients in with the wet, and even turned on the food processor. He hasn't mastered the art of measuring yet, but I'll work on that soon.

He says the food processor is "too loud," but he always wants to add "more cinnameeyun." I like cinnamon, too. Surprisingly enough, the bread turned out well even though Nick somehow spilled a giant spoonful of the dry ingredients on the floor.

We thought our extra-cinnamon-y banana bread was pretty yummy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

One Big Blur of Fun

My mom went with Nick and Henry and me this Saturday to the DuPage Children's Museum for their Family Fun Night. For Nick, it should've been called "One Big Blur of Fun" because he didn't stop moving the entire time.

Most of my pictures are blurry, but that's okay. Here is Nick playing in the music room.

Nick loved banging with those drumsticks, though I'm not sure if we can call the sounds he made "music." Notice how fast those drumsticks were moving.  :)

For a child as active as Nick, this museum is paradise because there is so much to see and do. It is loud, colorful, and filled with toys. His favorite part was the train. I was proud of how he waited his turn to drive the train. However, once he was sitting in the conductor's seat, my boy was not moving. He kept shouting, "All Aboard" and "Choo-Choo!"

Don't think that Henry missed out on the fun. He tried all kinds of things, including climbing up a squishy, wavy ramp. Henry loved people-watching most of all, though.

I noticed after I put Henry in these pants that they look like skinny jeans 'cause his legs are so chubby. Oh well, skinny jeans are in style now, even for guys.

One of the coolest things I saw for babies was this bar. It is set up almost like a ballet bar, but for babies. It had textured semicircles for them to feel with their baby fingers.

I'm so glad I took the boys. They had an excellent time, and slept like, well, like babies after all the commotion.