30 March 2011

Benny Update

Lila has been the subject of most of my blog posts lately. It's not because Benny doesn't do anything cool or fun or amazing. It's because Lila is changing so rapidly and I need to capture that development. Benny, however, continues to amaze us.

Benny now proudly exclaims that he's "three and a half" to anyone who asks. He has become quite the little man. He loves his friends (Toby, Thatcher, Theo and Honora are his best friends, followed closely by several friends at school). We are so lucky to have some great neighbors with kids Benny's age. When we get home for the night, he asks "Can we go to Theo's (Toby's, Thatcher's...) house tonight?" We have spent many a night grilling with neighbors. Sometimes these evenings end with a bath.

Benny has also become helpful around the house. He clears his plate from the table and picks up his shoes and coat and puts them away. He enjoys cooking with me and shoveling with Nate. Now that spring is here, Nate and Benny spend hours in the backyard doing "hard work," which mostly involves Benny shoveling dirt or picking up worms or jumping from one thing to another.

This weekend Benny will start soccer practice. He picked out some soccer shoes and shin guards with Nate this weekend. I can't believe he's old enough to play soccer! Luckily, we found a league where Benny, Toby and Thatcher will play on the same team: the Red Cardinals. More posts about the new soccer adventure soon!

29 March 2011

Lila: 5 Months (Solids, Smiling, Dancing)

Once again, I'm a wee bit late posting pictures of Lila. Those posted above capture Lila at five months. She is now six months. Ah well. She accomplished a lot in a short little month, including eating solids, rolling over, and babbling (currently she says dada, baba, and gaga). I had to include a picture of her amazing gravity defying hair and the best onesie ever (Dance It Out, Baby). The poor girl also has a perpetual stuffy/runny nose. We have to clear her out regularly. Sometimes she doesn't mind it. But mostly she hates it.

Also, looking at these pictures, it appears that we dress her in pink all of the time. She does wear a lot of pink (thanks to the generosity of friends and their hand-me-downs), but she wears a lot of other colors too. I have to balance my loathing of pink with the benefits of used clothes. It's not the absolute worst conundrum to face.

25 March 2011

Blast from the Past

It's hard to believe that Nate and I tied the knot nearly seven years ago (not to mention that we've been together for nearly an entire decade!). We've entered a phase of general joy. Lila has rounded out our family very nicely and I think we're both taking the time to enjoy one another as well as the amazing luck we've had as a couple.

Sure, Nate still drives me nuts sometimes. For the most part, however, he's making me laugh and making a major effort to contribute to the team. Here's to good phases - may they outlast the bad.

23 March 2011

Walk It Off

I encountered my first challenge to my 365 Days of Movement goal yesterday (a mere three days into the project). I had to attend a meeting after work and didn't get home until nearly 7. I picked Lila up as soon as I walked in the door and talked to Benny about his day. After about 15 minutes of giggling together, we transitioned quickly to Lila's bedtime routine of bath, jams, dancing, asleep. Benny hopped in the tub. We read stories. It was 8:15 - perfect, enough time for a walk. Then Benny started what we call his bedtime negotiations. He needs a drink, asks for a snack, anything, anything to avoid bedtime. After a half glass of cold water (because water out of the tap just won't do), he got in bed. Then he protested that we didn't cuddle long enough.

When I finally emerged from his room, it was nearly 8:45. I still had a long list of things to do to prepare for the morning: Fill bottles, make Lila's food for daycare, lay out clothes for the three of us, review taxes, shower, etc., etc., etc. It was sooooo tempting to skip the walk. But, I made a commitment to MOVE, so I changed out of my work clothes. As soon as I stepped outside into the cool spring evening, I knew I made the right choice. I walked 30 minutes - not a minute more. It was so worth it! And I still made it to bed by 10:30! Maybe this project won't be so hard after all!

20 March 2011

365 Days of Movement

I've realized a few things after becoming a mother of two. Among them, I've realized that weekends are merely catch-up days. Catching up on cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, etc. Now that spring is here (Happy Spring!), things have gotten even more intense since we have to keep up with the yard as well. Another realization: It's incredibly difficult to find time to move. As in, get that heart rate up and MOVE! I've been averaging one run a week.

So, in celebration of spring AND in celebration of Lila's upcoming six-month birthday (which, coincidentally, is when she can start riding in the jogging stroller), I'm introducing 365 Days of Movement. I got the idea from the blog 365 Runs, Hopefully. There's no way I can run every day. But I can move every day.

Here are the rules:
  1. I must move every day for at least 30 minutes. That can include walking, running, hiking, yoga-ing, biking, etc. I just have to move.
  2. In the event that I can't move (sickness, business, etc.), I can make it up by moving for an hour the next day. For example, if I'm training for a half-marathon and run for two hours, it's OK to take a day off.
The first day of spring seems like the perfect day to start this activity. Today, I ran/walked for an hour. A good start to moving!

15 March 2011

Green Glo

I was cleaning up my desktop at work and found this file. It's a long story, but we included this painting in our silent auction two years ago. I think it's such a cool image. For those of you who are familiar of the Sleeper House, it's a perspective piece.

Now I can delete the file. Hurrah!

13 March 2011

Smashing Tomato Soup

Nate has been in love with a tomato soup at a local restaurant for some time. It was love at first bite for him. The soup is really good. I never thought we'd be able to make it - mostly because I'm not good at discerning flavors and putting them back together in my kitchen.

Enter my friend Amanda. She is an amazing cook. And she totally demystified this soup for us. Check out her blog post about it here. (The photo is courtesy of Amanda's blog - The Rhythm of Cooking.) We drank some yummy Spanish wine and listened to Toots and the Maytals. It was the perfect Saturday night at our house. We also made some killer garlic bread to go with the soup and it was perfect (sorry to rub it in, Amanda).

The soup was amazing - almost as good as the real thing. We are going to tweak a few things for next time. We did notice that our soup didn't have quite as much kick as the restaurant version, so Nate pulled out some cayenne pepper and we threw a little in our respective bowls of soup.

Unfortunately Benny wasn't as excited about the soup as we were. He wouldn't take a bite. We even bribed him with a leftover cupcake. No dice. After 45 minutes of trying to coerce him into eating the soup, I left the table to feed Lila and Nate started cleaning the kitchen. Benny remained at the table and started to talk about cinnamon. Cinnamon? What cinnamon? I didn't think much of it ... until he yelled, "This cinnamon is spicy!" He then ran over to me and stuck his tongue out, tears streaming from his eyes.

I looked at the table, and there was some cayenne spilled in little piles. He had licked some off of his finger. Poor guy. I pushed milk on him and had him eat some bread. He cried and drank milk for about five minutes. I felt awful for him. And then, in between his tears, he said, "I need to watch some Dora to calm down." Little pooper. He knows just how to work the system. Suddenly the tears stopped and all was well. He'll probably never eat tomato soup again. He's missing out!

09 March 2011

Vote for Me!

The guest blog competition is up and running. Please visit this site to vote for my entry! Of course, you don't have to vote for me, but it's strongly encouraged!

Oh, and drop me a note if you did vote for me. I'd like to keep a running tally :).

Just Roll With It

Lila is officially rolling over. Check that: She was officially rolling over about two weeks ago, but I never got to actually see her roll over. On Sunday, we were hanging out in her room. She was pushing herself up and looking around. Suddenly, without much effort, she was on her back! It was so effortless that it took me a minute to realize what had happened. She continued the trend on Monday when she rolled over three times in a row.

Speaking of rolling with it, I feel like the whole family is doing a great job of rolling with it. I've had a hard time letting go of things - like keeping the house super clean. But, in the spirit of rolling with it, I'm not letting clutter and dirty dishes ruffle my feathers as much as they used to. Making it through the day is still exhausting, but it's getting easier. Both of the kids go to bed at the same time - between 8 and 8:30 - which gives Nate and me at least an hour of alone time. Last night we sat at the table and talked - without interruption - for over an hour. We also enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine. I'm proud of us "rolling with it" for the past couple of months to get to this place.

Benny, for all of his love of routine, is also an expert in rolling with it. Seriously, change doesn't phase him. He still wants to follow a pretty specific routine before bed: jams, books, teeth, water, snuggling (with Bob and Elmo), and back rubs. But other than that, he mostly encounters change with an effortlessness similar to that of Lila's new skill.

04 March 2011

Last Summer...

Some crazy things happened to us last summer. I never wrote about them here because they were incredibly dramatic, traumatic, and upsetting. To top it all off, they happened within weeks of each other.

The first was that Benny's daycare closed for nearly two months. I was eight months pregnant when it happened. We had just transferred Benny to The Children's Center. He loved it and we loved it. In August, there were reports of child molestation. The Center was temporarily closed shortly thereafter. We were shocked, stunned, upset, confused. Our first reaction was to find a new daycare for Benny and be done with it. But, after listening to some parents and thinking through things, we decided to wait it out and hope that the Center would reopen. We pieced together childcare. It was rough. The Center did re-open - only about two weeks before Lila joined us. A local magazine, 5280, published a story about what happened.

Five months later, we are very happy with our decision to keep Benny at the Center. He loves it there. Loves his teachers, loves his friends. I still find myself having doubts about the Center, but as we meet more parents and get more involved, I'm also encouraged by the community associated with the Center.

The second event, which requires a whole new blog post, involves our neighbor (the same crazy neighbor who I've written about before). Long story short, she passed out on our porch the same night we found out that The Children's Center was closing. But that's a story for a different day!