Friday, December 28, 2012

Visions of Christmas

Right ... let's pretend this very instant that this post was done before Christmas, not 3 days after the fact. And tomorrow you can pretend to be surprised by other Christmas pictures.

We had the white Christmas I oh so desired. 13 inches of white Christmas to be exact. In fact, the snow was so bad that for the first time in 7 years of working downtown, hubs didn't make it in because of the weather. That's bad folks. If you ever want a poster child for dedicated employee, Lance is it. He abandoned the idea of going in only after getting my car stuck in a snowbank, then after having a kind stranger help him dig out, accidentally locked the keys in the car (the car was running mind you) in the middle of a busy intersection. But this was not enough. It took him not being completely blinded with snow to decide to stay home. Even then I had to convince him at 10:30 AM not to go. Yeah, Lance is nuts for work :)

Lemon, rosemary, vanilla fragrance jars. Every year I tell myself that I'm not going to do any homemade gifts because, well, I don't need to. But every year, I find myself making something for all the women in my family. I originally got the idea from a cookie exchange I went to earlier in December. They were easy enough to assemble, so lo and behold, another homemade gift! You put your smelly ingredients in a jar and cover it with water. Then when you want to use it, empty the contents into a small crock pot (like a little dipper) or into a small sauce pan on the stove. Add more water to cover and simmer lightly. According to pinterest, this is the same smell that Williams Sonoma uses in their stores.

My favorite snowman coffee mugs. A former boss gave these out about 4 years ago. I only have 3 snowmen and would love to have 4. So, if you have this EXACT snowman mug taking up space in your cupboard, send him my way :)


Every year after Christmas I vow that I'm going to do less baking the next year. Never works out for me. I made fudge (2 rounds, I swear I ruined the first, but it ended up being okay), peanut butter fudge, caramels, sugar cookies, ginger snaps and peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. So roughly around 700 cookies and 8 cases of Type 2 Diabetes. Lance just unearthed the compost cookies I made last year for Christmas. Whoops.

Below are triple chocolate espresso cookies.

This is the Christmas ornament I bought last year for Lucan's first Christmas. Isn't it adorable?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Story

After Friday's horrors of the terrible Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, it goes without saying that all parents are holding their children a bit tighter. It's horrible. It's devastating. It makes me weep.

But Christmas reminds us that there is hope in a Savior. This version of the Christmas story was played a couple weeks back during church and I've been wanting to share it ever since then. This reenactment was done by some children in Austrialia. I think it's even more precious to me since Friday's shootings.

I'm not sure which is cuter: the sheep or the star.

Give those you love another hug today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kara's Cookie Tips

1. Use unsalted butter. Salted butter varies from brand to brand as to how much salt is actually in one stick. It can range anywhere from 1/4 of a teaspoon to 1/2 a teaspoon. But the use of butter and not margarine is very important. Butter in baking makes for a much more well-rounded, well butter flavor. It's important. Trust me on this.
2. Another butter tip. Soften your butter at room temperature for a couple of hours at minimum. It's also important to bring your eggs to room temperature because if they are too cold, they will not cream properly.
3. Quality baking pans are important. I use my 2 ton Pampered Chef stoneware pans combined with parchment paper. As a result, my cookies never stick to the pan and are always baked evenly and rarely burn.
4. Always stir the last of your flour or your mix-ins (chocolate chips, dried fruits, nuts, etc.) in by hand. When using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, there is the tendency to over mix in hopes of getting the last of the flour stirred in.
5. For uniform cookies, use a cookie scoop. My personal favorite is the small Pampered Chef scoop, approximately one tablespoon in size. This should be in every baker's cookie arsenal.
6. Another cookie scoop tip. Pre-scoop your dough and chill them for 5-10 minutes prior to baking. They won't spread as much and will come out much more even. And if your scooped dough has some pointy bits, you can push them in to make them even more round and perfect.
7. I think this one is generally a given, but let your cookies rest for 3 minutes or so after you take them out of the oven. You'll smash them if you try and remove them too soon.
8. Also another given, but worth mentioning: rotate your cookies halfway through baking. Most ovens cook hottest towards the back, so I always rotate top to bottom and side to side.
9. Good gravy, use a timer. There's nothing worse than going to all the trouble of mixing up dough only to burn it.
10. I heard this on Rachael Ray the other day, but there are stages to cookie making: mixing, resting, forming, resting and then baking. Essentially they advise that it is best to mix your dough up, form it into a mound, let everything rest for a little while, shape your cookies, chill the formed dough and then bake. I can't say that I do this for all cookies, but it is important for rolled cookies, such as sugar cookies, for the dough to be slightly chilled after you cut them out. It's also important to flour your cookie cutters in between use to prevent sticking.

10 tips for baking cookies. I didn't think that I had that many tips in me, but lo and behold, if you make enough cookies your start figuring out what works! I'm on like my 350 cookie in two weeks and I haven't even started making my Christmas cookies yet. I know, slightly overkill.

Photo credit

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving menu: A day of food

Because Thanksgiving is about food. And not about being thankful. Because I have nothing to be thankful for this year. Absolutely NOT true. Although I will take some time to make a list of my thankful things because it is always a worthwhile endeavor.

For the first time EVER, I am hosting Thanksgiving for my side of the family. While some would feel anxious, I just feel giddy. Kara loves cooking and being a hostess-with-the-mostess! I've made two previous turkeys without issue, so hopefully the third time continues to be the charm. We are always out of town for the holidays, so being able to sleep in my own bed seems luxurious. A couple years back we got snowed in for Christmas. It was sad to not be able to see our families but at the same time I remember feeling some relief at doing nothing and going no where. I think that was the last year I made homemade gifts and 300 cookies for Christmas. Apparently overkill is not part of my vocabulary :)

And because overkill is not part of my vocabulary, here is my Thanksgiving menu for 5.5 people:

13 pounds of roasted, brined turkey
Mashed potatoes (because it's not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes)
Gravy (and not out of a can or a mix. Neither of those two things count as gravy. I remember making the gravy as a new bride at my mother-in-law's and almost ruining it because it was as thick as paste. Then Lance's aunt came to my rescue and thinned it out with some potato water. Which is a helpful hint for those of you who make flour gravy)
Spoon cornbread/cornbread casserole
Bread stuffing (true story: I prefer Stovetop to homemade stuffing. Don't tell.)
Rice & mushroom stuffing
Cranberry orange sauce
Strawberry pretzel salad
Green bean casserole
Pumpkin pie
Peach pie

No relish tray. Really who wants a carrot or a piece of celery on Thanksgiving?! But I may do a cheese dip and crackers as a munchie. I'm also playing with the idea of having a signature drink. The problem being is that a) alcohol is expensive b) it has a tendency to sit in our cupboard for years upon years c) no one in my family is much into alcohol. d) I prefer to eat my calories instead of drinking of them. e) after 9 months of being pregnant and another year of breastfeeding, I have no alcohol tolerance. I would probably be passed out under the table after one drink. I know last year at my work Christmas party my head felt fuzzy after a quarter of a glass of wine. All things point to NOT having a signature drink. But all of my fun Thanksgiving magazine feature so many cool options. Oh well, verdict is out. I'm sure Martha wouldn't approve. Then again, Martha made turkeys out of chocolate last year. That's not going to happen here. But in case you are feeling energetic, here's a link to the video. If you happen to make one, please drop it off at my house prior to 1:00 pm on Thursday :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lu: 17 months

Laugh now, all you moms who inwardly chuckled when I said that I was going to hold on to my 2 nap day schedule. Because of course we are now at an one-nap per day schedule. Let me tell you, it's rough. Okay, back story. About 10 days before daylight savings time started (ended?), Lucan started sleeping from 8:00 pm- 9:00 am!! I didn't feel like I could legitimately put Lu down for a morning nap when he had slept in until 9 am. But then daylight savings came and screwed it all up. Lucan is back to his old antics of getting up before 7:00 am. Several mornings I have woken up to the sounds of Lucan knocking everything off his side table and pulling over his side table too.

6:00 am: Thump, thump, thump.
Me to Lance: what the *&#@!# ? (because if you know me, I'm not one to mess with when I'm sleeping) followed by sounds of baby gibberish.
Lance: it's just Lu rearranging. Go back to sleep.
Me to Lance: I'm going to throttle Lucan and kill whoever is in charge of daylight savings time.
Lance (who is already asleep again): hmmm ... go back to sleep...
But like many, once I've been woken up, there's no chance of me falling back to sleep. I could handle the one nap day if Lucan wouldn't get so crazy hysterical at lunch time and if I could guarantee that Lucan would sleep longer than 2 hours in the afternoon. What's done is done. There's no turning back now.

  • Periodically we will let Lucan run around completely naked after bath time. Dangerous. Generally, he can be counted on to pee on the floor. Thanks buddy.
  • Favorite foods: broccoli, popcorn, pears, beans. And dried apple slices. Making dried apple slices is not one of my favorite past times. It's a rather time consuming process but I have to think that dried apple slices are much better for Lucan than potato chips. Not that he's snuck any of those off the table ...
  • Oh, Lu loves the individual puree pouches - thanks Jessie! I think that Lu likes having the control of being able to feed himself. Maybe someone will get some pouches for Christmas ...
  • Favorite activity: bath time and madly splashing his mom.
  • Second favorite activity: anything that I tell him he can't do: pulling out clumps of Fire's hair, banging things against the TV, pulling little girls' hair at the library, throwing food on the floor.
  • Lucan is still on frozen breast milk, but sadly I think we are closing in on the end. It makes me a little teary eyed, but I know that I've done my best for him.
  • Since moving to a one-nap schedule, I've tried to move bedtime up to 7:45 pm. But Lance thinks this is way to early and the reason why Lucan is getting up early. Someone please weigh in and tell Lance that a 7:45pm bedtime is not unreasonable!!!
  • Lucan is definitely learning. Not much, but some :) When we are Praise and Play, Lucan has observed the times when he gets to go and get an instrument, what to do with it and then when to put it back. I'm impressed.
  • I think that when I go back to work, Lucan is going to have a hard time adjusting. I've noticed when I drop him off at a friend's house, Lu gets slightly hysterical. Because Lu has always went to daycare before, separation anxiety hasn't been too prevalent. I'm not sure it's the age or what, but based on this and when we take him to nursery at church, I think we'll have a problem.
  • Lucan loves climbing on standing on the kitchen chairs. Which I wouldn't find completely heart stopping, but he also wants to climb the rungs on the back of the chair. Last week he fell backwards off a chair. His head took a beating.
  • Lu's favorite hiding place is behind the couch. I'm pretty sure he thinks he's invisible. It brings out his hoarder qualities. Presently he is holding in his hands, three animal crackers, one sippy cup of milk and another sippy cup of water. He'll drag everything that he currently loves back behind the couch with him. It's both endearing and irritating.
  • This kid has my memory. I'll put something away because he's hell bent on destroying it and then take it out a month later and he'll remember that his intention was to kill and destroy. Super.
  • Lucan is very much his father's son. Lu's feet are always hot (just like Lance's. Lance has actually gotten in trouble at work because he is never wearing his shoes), so Lu is always pulling off his socks and kicking off his shoes. Lucan picks the raisins out of things and eats them separately.
  • So ticklish!
  • Lucan has an obsession with belly buttons. He'll lift your shirt up and go "be bo" which is cute at home. Not at the grocery store. \
  • His second obsession is emptying out all drawers of it's contents. Lucan especially enjoys unscrewing the caps off of travel sized lotions. But if they are Aveda travel lotions, it's like $8 worth of lotion Lucan is potentially wasting. The most obvious solution is to launch a preemptive strike and take everything out of the drawer or to babyproof the drawer. Now our house contains multitudes of drawers that I can't open or drawers with their entire contents open for the world to see. Both are great solutions :)
  • Lucan loves dancing to the music of One Direction. Not that I'm playing boy band music ...
And here Lucan is at 17 months and at 5 months. It never ceases to astound me the changes that one year brings.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Porcupine Meatballs

I've been having fun cooking my way through Dinner: A Love Story. It certainly helps that I'm home to make supper every evening. One of the few upsides to being unemployed. But if anyone asks, I'm not unemployed, I'm being a stay at home momma to Lucan. So there. I refuse to be an unemployment statistic. Sorry for the tirade. Back to food.

Lucan has interesting food tastes. He loves beans, pears, kiwis, chicken stir fry and meatballs. But not meatloaf. And not leftover chicken stir fry. He loves popcorn. This is a meal Lu LOVES. DALS (Dinner A Love Story) porcupine meatballs. They are on the sweet side, but quite yummy. Def a crowd pleaser.

1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped green peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
2 cups tomato juice
4 cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire

Combine uncooked beef, rice, onion, green peppers, salt, and garlic in a large bowl. Shape into small balls, about 1-inch wide.

Whisk together remaining ingredients in a deep skillet (I used my Le Cruset dutch oven) and bring to a simmer. Drop in meatballs and cover tightly. Simmer for 30 minutes (for the rice to cook through, it was closer to 50 minutes), flipping over about half way through.
Remove cloves before serving.
I serve with oven fried potatoes and garlic bread. A lovely green salad is also reccommended.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

October in pictures

October was an expensive month for things. Meaning, Lucan's nimble little baby fingers were too fast for his own good. Things Lu broke this month: nightlight (into two pieces), ipod (who knew tiny droplets of water would be so lethal), my skunk salt shaker, ceramic measuring spoon and his floor fan. Things that I broke: passenger side mirror on the Traverse and our GPS. I don't think that the GPS was really my fault. It just failed to power up when I was in the middle of Altoona. The passenger side mirror was completely my fault.

Anyway, I'm not bitter. Well, not too bitter. Moving on.

This is Lucan in his scarecrow costume at my parents' house. The white blur you see on the left side of the picture is their kitty, Annie. Annie and Lu are the best of buds. They really enjoy playing with each other. Lucan chases after Annie and Annie thinks it's great fun. Annie gently gnaws on Lu's fingers and Lu thinks it's hilarious. After a weekend with Annie, Lu finds Fire to be quite the bore. If Lu shrieks loudly, Fire just runs and hides where Annie takes it as here cue to be even crazier.

We went with the Des Moines Mom's group to Center Grove Orchard. The morning we went there was quite unusual weather wise for October. Warm enough for shorts and just humid enough to feel like springtime. On the flip side, it was quite muddy by all of the animals so Lu's shoes quickly got caked with mud. Lu and I had fun, but I think that he'll enjoy it more next year when he can not be afraid of the corn pool and can go down the big slide. I also will have to pay attention to the weather and pick a dryer day.

Ah, a family picture at Lance's youngest brother, Andrew's, wedding. The whole day was kind of a fiasco with very limited napping and a lot of me saying "no, Lucan, no." Of course he wanted to get into everything and always be with his dad. That was tricky as Lance was in the wedding and had best man duties and such. Needless to say, I'm hoping that the next wedding Lance and I are in, Lu will be old enough to not be so crazy.

Here are two pictures of our little cousin, Easton, completely passed out on Lance's uncle Raymond. Easton is just a month older than Lucan and had troubles too keeping out of everything. The only nap poor Easton caught was during the ceremony. 

 Easton loves his grandpa!

Our niece, Andrea, was the flower girl. She did very well and stood through the ceremony without issue. Doesn't she look so pretty and patient?

Lucan didn't want his picture taken with his Grandma K. Lucan didn't want his picture taken period. I dread seeing how the family pictures turned out.

Lucan loves any meal that involves beans. This night I made taco soup. Doesn't Lance look uber-enthused about being in the picture?

Lance legitimately thought this outfit looked good on Lu. Orange striped onesie totally goes with crazy madras pants that have no orange in them, right? Never mind the fact that I'm letting Lucan go down the stairs unassisted. We both know that I'm the better of the two parents :)

Speaking of good parenting, I'm not letting Lucan use the cube cooler as a step stool so he can flip the lights on and off and throw things over the gate and down the stairs ....

Crazy baby. This is his ferocious face.

And Lucan standing in a pile of clean, unfolded laundry. Totally safe.

Lu has decided that the baby swing is much more comfortable as a 17 month old. I'm not sure the swing has a capacity to hold 25 pounds, truth be told. I think Lu just wants his own seating that fits his body.

Go Iowa State! We all had our ISU gear on, so a picture of course was in order. We have to celebrate our victories when we can get them!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

I think that I made a vow when I was pregnant that I wasn't going to waste money on Halloween costumes for Lucan when he was still little and didn't care. Little did I realize that Halloween costumes for little kids are the best because they are so adorable! Last year a pumpkin, this year a scarecrow. I haven't spent more than $7 combined, so I think that it's okay :)
This year I took Lu to a couple of our friends' houses to trick or treat at. He didn't seem to care. We had a record low of 2 trick or treaters this year that stopped by our house. Sad life. I guess we need to live in a trendier, newer neighborhood. Oh well, more candy for me!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Winner, winner, chicken dinner: Tiny Prints Giveaway

I'm sure that everyone has been waiting with abated breaths, but the winner of my Tiny Prints $50 giveaway is Adrian N! Adrian left a comment on my facebook wall that she loves to send out Christmas cards the old fashioned way and has already started thinking about what to do for this year's. Adrian has two adorable little boys and another wee little baby girl on the way. No wonder she has already started mentally planning this year's Christmas card :) 

How cute is this card from Tiny Prints? Tiny Prints really does have the best designs!
I wrote down everyone names on slips of paper and made Lance draw one. He felt pressured and took his role very seriously. My husband, if you ever want to ensure something is done with consideration and fairness, he's your man. We had fifteen total entrants, so congrats Adrian! You'll get your promo code for $50 soon.

We've finally wrapped up all of our photo sessions for the fall. Since the beginning of October, we've had our photos taken for our church directory, for a family wedding, a mini-session with just the three of us with my talented neighbor Amanda, and then group photos with my parents this past weekend. I think that our smiles are broken. At least if you ask Lance, his smile is broken. Or on temporary hiatus.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lucan: 16 months

I can't believe that I've done 16 of these updates. They've forced me to really think about Lucan's growth and development on a monthly basis. While I have no intentions of extending these past his second birthday, they have definitely forced me to reflect.
  • At Lucan's 15th month check-up (which was actually done at 16 months), he weighed in at 24 lbs and 6 ounces. He feels a lot heavier than that most days. For height and weight, he measured at the 61% percentiles and for head size - 94% percentile. Lu Lu has a big noggin. He did so well with his shots too, just a few tears and then he was fine. The two things that were most comical is having one of the nurses ask Lance and I if Lucan would be brought up bilingually (does elementary Spanish 1 count?) and the older, icky nurse saying that Lu was just such a sweetheart and then sneaking in a kiss. A little strange, but my baby boy does elicit kisses.
  • Lu's favorite foods now include scrambled eggs. Weird. I hate scrambled eggs. But Lance and I both watched an episode of Martha Stewart's Cooking School on eggs so we could learn how to "properly" cook eggs. In Martha's world scrambled eggs do not include milk. Oh well, in my world, they do.
  • I am valiantly holding onto the 2x nap a day schedule. I'm pretty sure that Lu could probably transition to a single nap, but I'm not ready for it. Truth be told, I'm praying against all odds that I will find a job before that transition has to be made.
  • Could Lucan have any more teeth? Probably not. He has them all. He's such a trooper when it comes to teething.
  • I've been trying to socialize Lu more by taking him to the library for storytime and to one of the local churches for a gathering called "Praise and Play." At Praise and Play we sing kiddo bible songs, play with some musical instruments, have a bible story, snacks and the ocassional craft. Lucan is definitely enjoying it and gaining a better understanding of what's expected. Gotta love local mom/baby outings!

Lu Lu for your 16th month birthday, we celebrated by taking a trip to the zoo. Daddy took the day off and we celebrated one of the last days of summer sunshine.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tiny Prints: $50 giveaway!

I love for their layouts and designs. They have some of the cutest cards on the market. And me, being me, have started thinking about Christmas cards already. It's the end of October, so I feel like it's justified. We have had a slew of family pictures taken recently - church directory pictures, wedding pictures for Lance's brother, us and Lu pictures and this weekend we are having more pictures taken with my parents. It's been hectic. I'm really looking forward to seeing the outakes from our pictures with my talented neighbor/photographer Amanda. Especially the angry reindeer photos. And here's a hint: the angry reindeer is not Lance.

Here's something fun for all of you! Tiny Prints is going to sponsor a $50 giveaway here - all you have to do is leave me a comment either here or on Facebook stating if you still send out Christmas cards the old fashioned way or if it's a tradition better left in the past. I'll draw a winner by this Friday, Oct 29 so start thinking if this is the year you're going to send me a Christmas card :) In the mean time, wander over to Tiny Prints' Christmas Cards and start imagining this year's holiday greeting. If you don't win, don't be sad: just go and see what other offers they are doing instead.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Popcorn was a bad idea ...

Yes indeed, popcorn wasn't the best idea as far as a snack for Lucan.

Happily snacking away on the couch. Content as a clam (can clams be content?)

I took this picture after I emptied the popcorn out of Lucan's shoes. I haven't said it before, but Lucan is a magpie. He's always hoarding things.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Call me a PBS geek ...

My latest and greatest obsession are the shows on PBS, specifically "Masterpiece Theater." I suppose once you've ditched Direct TV, PBS is the best one can do. Besides, I like to think that all the cool kids are watching PBS these days. I mean, don't I sound more sophisticated and smarter when in casual conversation I mention to you that my favorite programs are on PBS (and I'm not talking about Clifford, the Big Red Dog either)?

Saturday morning, 11:30 AM: "Martha Stewart's Cooking School." Last Saturday Lance I learned the proper way to make scrambled eggs. Turns out neither one of us knew what we were doing. And we weren't properly boiling hard boiled eggs too.

My latest love affair is with Sunday evening's "Masterpiece Theater. It all started off with "Downton Abbey." If you haven't watched it yet, get out from that rock you've been hiding under!

Look at the lovelies of Downton.  

How could you not love Maggie Smith? She's got some of the best one-liners of the show! I'm looking forward to the Jan 6, 2013 start of Season 3. If you are having a hard time getting ahold of the first two seasons, check out your local library. Because it's PBS, so it's education, so they carry it :)

I'm also watching "Call the Midwife" too. But there are a few too many images of women giving birth which are a bit traumatizing and bring back scary memories. Def stick to "Downton Abby", less scary.

Currently on M.P.T (Masterpiece Theater for all you cool kids), is the show "Upstairs Downstairs." This show is a updated version of the original dating back to 1971. I'm enjoying it. It's about the lives of the servants "downstairs" and their masters "upstairs." It's fun. It is set right before WWII, so there's the chance that I could get Lance to watch it with me. He's such a WWII geek.
PBS is the place to be. Eat that Mitt Romney.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reasons why I won't be Winning a Mom of the Year Award

Below are pictorial illustrations as to why I won't be winning any Mom of the Year Awards.

1. Lucan thinks it's fun to hide in the pots and pans. My thought "why not? There are no sharp edges or knives."

2. Dirty, dirty face. Lucan like chili! Even in September when it's still hot outside. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, Lu likes anything with beans.

We've started the practice of what I call "double-bibbing" The first bib is full frontal and has sleeves. With Lucan, it should probably include pants too. I've discovered that he likes to take food off his tray and put it in his lap. Typical. The rubber bibs were great until Lucan discovered that he can rip them off on his own. Instead of allowing him to be bib-less, we double bib.

Lu - what's that you are sucking on? Oh, a 5 Hour Energy bottle. Fantastic. Well, that's how this household preps for an Iowa State game. They sell 5 Hour Energys at the checkout line at our grocery store. If I don't watch Lucan closely, he'll grab them and start throwing them into the cart. We don't actually buy these, the one Lu has I got as a sample at an event I worked at this past summer.

Child labor laws? What? Lucan shouldn't be playing with our $350 vacuum?

Bedbug and lice warriors alike will groan. I bought this hat for Lucan on consignment and let him try it on without washing it first. Like I said, I'm not winning any mom awards this year.

What this picture doesn't show is that Lu has no pants on. We typically roam around this house pants-less. Yep, we are a household full of Pants-less Petes. This picture also doesn't show that it's 80 degrees outside too. I think puffy winter coats should be worn in 80 degree weather :)

Ah, yes. The grill pictures. We were hanging out on the deck the other day and Lucan was very interested in the grill. The gas was turned off so I thought "why not?"

And one final picture. This depicts Lucan's face when he's running full speed from one place to another. This face is called "pure joy." At the end of the day, even after I've let Lu play with or get into 10+ things he probably shouldn't have, if this is the face that greets me, I'll take it. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The grass is always greener ...

The grass is always greener at my parents' house. Actually, it is. My dad has a beautiful lawn. Us, on the other hand, have a pothole for a yard. A pothole with a couple dandelions and a few tufts of crab grass here and there. I kid you not. This extreme summer was hard on our landscaping. Well that and an adamant refusal to water our grass to keep it verdant looking. Lance is going to scold me for calling our yard a pothole.

But I digress.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. When I worked full-time, I envied my friends that got to be a stay-at-home mom. When I went to part-time all I wanted was my full-time salary back or to just be at home all the time. And now that I'm a pretend stay-at-home mom, I miss working. Well, maybe not exactly the act of working, but the ability to have time where I'm not "mommy." So either the grass is always greener or I'm the most flippant person ever. It could be a little of both :)

Both statuses are tough, but in entirely different ways. When I was full-time, I spent a fair amount of my day wondering what Lucan was up to and whether or not he was being good. I worried about all the other stuff I had to get done when I got off of work. I tried not to focus on all the germs Lu's immune system was being exposed to. Now that I'm at home with Lucan, I worry about his social development and if he's tired of hanging out with me or misses playing with lots of other kids. I suddenly have all that time I thought that I would have being a stay-at-home mom, but yet, none of the time to get anything done. I feel like I spend most of my time in the kitchen either making food, feeding Lu food, cleaning food off the floor that Lu thought would be fun to watch splat or cleaning up the mess I made preparing food for Lu to eat. Hit the repeat button in two hours and it's lunchtime! I find that at lunch Lu would prefer whatever food I've made for myself than eat what I've made for him. (Do you ever feel like God created the same behaviors in your child that you yourself exhibited as a wee one? Um, YES. I distinctly remember always thinking that my mom's food always tasted better than whatever was on my own plate. And then stealing her food. Lance asked my mom the other day what my favorite food was and she sort of hemmed and hawed and didn't have an answer. Because I was a HORRIBLE eater as a kid. So when Lu throws his peeled apple slice on the floor and pulls the kind of stuff I pulled as a child, I smile and sigh because God knew EXACTLY what He was doing when He made my child.)

Oh. I digress. Again.

But I miss adults and being able to logically reason with someone (besides myself). I miss not living in fear of waking Lucan up from his nap if I'm not quiet enough. I miss my grown-up clothes (on the flip side, I DO NOT miss all the ironing that comes from having to wear grown-up clothes). Getting out of the house is important. It allows me to turn a blind eye to the bathroom that could really use a going-over. I love watching Lucan do his little happy dances and being able to tickle and make him giggle madly. I love being there to see the progress he makes every day in walking just a bit further. I love my little conversations that I have with Lu after his naps like how his pillow ended up on the floor or why there are extra stuffed animals in his crib. He just looks wide-eyed and innocent as if he had nothing to do with any of it.

Everyone loves a naked baby. Especially a baby who is undressing his favorite MLB mascot.
Not working has granted me the opportunity to see if the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence. From where I'm standing presently, both sides look a little dry and crusty and in need of a good watering.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lucan: 15 months

This past month has a big month for Lucan!
  • Walking has been long in coming. It isn't Lucan's favorite method of transportation as he still prefers crawling, but he will take four or five steps at a time and move from item to item. But I'm happy to be able to say when asked: "yes, Lucan is walking now."
  • Sippy cup. One piece of advice for new moms: introduce a sippy cup early. After having several conversations with my mom friends, we cut the bottle cold turkey. Lu has never been a thirsty kid, so we have to offer his milk to him because he won't take it on his own accord.
  • Teething. Lucan currently has a total of 10 teeth, but is getting 4 more on the top. No wonder he is so drooly.
  • Talking. Lucan's favorite words include "no" and "bye." Perhaps I should take this as a sign that Lucan wants me to go "bye" so he can quit hearing "no" from me all the time. I really think that Lucan understands the concept of bye because he will wait until he can't see you and then he will wave bye and say bye!
  • Food. I'm pleased to sasy that Lucan is branching out in the foods he will eat . He really likes vegetables and meat. He's not so big of a fan of fruit or lots of bread. For breakfast Lu enjoys homemade banana bread or zucchini bread (he's already a food snob) and a banana. He also will eat oatmeal - which his father will not. Lu is good at eating leftovers for lunch, I just have to make sure they are appropriate leftovers like stir-fry veggies and chicken or beans. Weirdly, he eats things like water chestnuts and mushrooms but turns his nose up at apples.
  • I often find myself scolding Lance for spoon feeding Lucan. I know that Lance doesn't like wiping food up off the floor the mess, but I'm not about to undo all the hard work I do at breakfast and lunch of getting Lu to feed himself. Lucan will let you know he's finished not with the "all done" sign, but by promptly throwing food on the floor and spitting it out. I went through the effort of really doing a good job of cleaning and mopping the floors on a Thurs night and by the weekend you couldn't tell any more.
  • Napping. Unless he's tired, he will fuss when he's put down for his naps. But usually after about 10 or 15 minutes, he will settle down. Lu has to have his favorite blanket otherwise all bets are off. I try and stop him from dragging his white blanket all over, but it's usually a vain wish.
  • Bedtime is at 8 pm. Lance has taken over bedtime duty which includes a couple sips of milk, a story or two and prayers.
  • Lu is a dancing machine. If he hears a song that has a good beat, he bops right along to it. He's got my dancing genes!
  • Lu still enjoys a good outing in his stroller or the bike trailer. With the weather getting nicer and less like a firey inferno, we've been trying to get out more.
  • Something that Lucan isn't enjoying as much is outings in a shopping cart. I guess neither of us enjoy it when Lu tries to escape and stand up.
  • Lu is graduating onto more interactive books. He has a jungle book in which you move different pieces of the pages up and down. Lu thinks that's pretty darn cool. He also likes books that have different things for him to touch and feel.
  • Annoying things: turning light switches on and off, trying to hang on the baby gate, touching the tv, splashing in Fire's water dish, wailing uncontrollably when I won't let him play IN the fridge.
  • I guess being a stay at home mom hasn't made me any more organized as I didn't call soon enough to get Lucan in for his 15 month appointment until he will be 16 months old. Opps. We'll have his stats next month.

    Lucan likes M&Ms. I've caught him feeding himself M&Ms out of the people feeder and then one day Lu knocked the people feeder off the shelf and spilled 500 M&Ms all over the floor. Fantastic
    Lance volunteers through work at the State Fair to help with the Little Hands on the Farm display. Next year Lu will finally be old enough to actually interact. This year he just got a Pioneer hat. Lu's uncle who works for the competitor, Monsanto, I'm sure isn't pleased.

    Classic family photo - Lance has his eyes closed.
    I attempted to take Lu's 15 month photo on my own. I don't have a single picture of him actually looking at the camera.

Lu's Grandma K picked up a John Deere visor for him at the State Fair.