Thursday, March 31, 2011

Look what I did during naptime...

The "My Very Own Kitchen" play set that I ordered off of Kids.Woot! last week arrived today. I was so excited about this find – only $12.99 (plus $5 shipping). So here's how I spent Owen's naptime this afternoon.

Over 60 tiny plastic pieces!

And here's the finished product.

Kinda dinky, but what do you expect for 13 bucks?

He seems to enjoy it anyway.

We also had fun with Papa this morning. Thanks for visiting!

The Juice Master

So, is my child deriving any actual nutrition by only sucking the juice out of an entire orange (which he refuses to call by name, preferring instead to refer to it as "apple"), and then spitting the pulp out?

And what's up with this anyway? He used to gobble oranges up. Now it's the juice only, which is very messy, by the way.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Scones

Yum! I love them!

Despite the major sugar spill while making them, it was definitely worth it!

Oops. Thank goodness for ShopVacs!!!

Anything with this much heavy cream HAS to be good!

Kneading dough is so much fun!


...and post-oven. YUM!

It's potty time?

Anxiety set in as I approached the very familiar baby aisles in Wal-Mart this evening because I was about to enter a whole new world – one I am still completely uninformed about. Dun. Dun. Duuuuuhn! I bought Owen his first potty chair tonight. Potty training was not even on my radar only a few short days ago, but then a series of events this week led me to this moment.

On Monday, I discovered two other boys very close to Owen's age (one slightly older, one slightly younger) at our weekly library meet-up who are already working on potty training and I started to wonder, "Am I dropping the ball here? Is this something I need to start thinking about with Owen?" I probably would have just dismissed that thought and reminded myself not to compare my child with others his age, except for the fact that Owen has been telling me, "poo poo," usually while touching his diaper area, a lot lately. I always peek to see if he has, in fact, pooped, and he never has. But I've started noticing that shortly after telling me this, he later does poop. So, I began to wonder if maybe he was letting me know that he felt the need to go poop, which, I think, is a sign that a child might be ready to start potty training. OMG. I was not prepared for this – AT ALL!

Yesterday I took his diaper off and tried to sit him on the toilet (holding him, of course, so he wouldn't fall in), but he did NOT like that. He basically screamed and cried, so I took him down. Then tonight, I decided to go ahead and buy him a potty his own size. As we perused the potty chair aisle, Owen spotted an "Eh Oh" (Elmo) chair, so that's the one we took home. It has a button you can push and Elmo will give your child words of encouragement, like "Elmo is so proud of you," and "It's fun to use the potty." We played around with it a little bit and I got him to sit on it with his pants up. But when we tried it with pants (and diaper) off, he again cried.

So, maybe he's not quite ready yet. But when he is, Elmo will be waiting...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Owen Update

So, it's about time for an Owen update, wouldn't you say?

The O-man says tons of words now, but here are just a few of the funny ones I can think of off the top of my head:

  • "gahgee" – a.ka., "glasses." I think this comes from one of his Dr. Suess books that refers to glasses as "goo goo goggles."
  • "she-she" – a.k.a., "Herkey." This one gets said A LOT! Anytime he sees anything with a Hawkeye logo, he shouts this out. I'm sure he's capable of saying "Herkey," but for some reason, it always comes out this way instead.
  • "ahwah" – a.k.a., "Iowa." We still haven't gotten "Hawks" or "Hawkeys," but we're slowly getting there.
  • "WheelOfBaby!" – a.k.a., "Wheel. Of. Fortune!" (as in the way the crowd shouts it out at the beginning of the show.) Not sure where "baby" came from, but he pauses between each word just like the crowd does and it's hilarious!

We've been working on concepts like colors, letters, numbers, and shapes lately and it's fun to see O's progress. I am constantly asking him what color various objects are, and right now, his answer is ALWAYS "pink." When I correct him and tell him what color it actually is, he usually repeats it, so that's good. I was beginning to worry that maybe he was color blind because he never seemed to differentiate between colors, but then yesterday, this happened...

O has been able to identify an apple and say that word for some time now. But he also calls oranges apples, despite my constant correction. He refuses to say "orange." So, yesterday, as I was getting him dressed, I asked him what color the shirt was that I was about to put on him. (It was orange.) He responded, "apple." Little stinker! He recognized that it was an orange shirt, but since he refuses to say that word, he called it "apple." I had to laugh...he's so clever.

O continues to be a good eater most of the time. He still eats just about anything I give him – including some things that really surprise me. Like salt & vinegar potato chips, for example. Huh? What kid likes the overpowering flavor of vinegar? Mine.

Enjoying an afternoon snack (or "sack," as he calls it)
of Goldfish and apple slices.

We regularly talk about letters and I've gotten him to repeat each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. I also sing the ABC song to him all the time and, although he doesn't sing it with me yet, he does hum the tune and make random sounds (some of them letters, some not) to the tune. I have a feeling music may be the way this child will learn concepts like this. It just seems to come so naturally to him.

Because we both get bored with the same old toys and television programs (and it's still too cold to play outside), I've been trying to introduce new activities whenever I can. My largest metal mixing bowl and cookie sheet are pretty much permanent members of the toy collection now and we've had fun coming up with ways to play with those. (Tossing plastic balls and other small toys into the bowl makes a delightfully loud noise, and sliding Hot Wheels cars across the cookie sheet always makes my little man giggle.) 

Play-dough makes its way out of the closet more and more often these days and Owen seems much more interested in it now than before. Crayons and markers, however, come out much less than they used to because, for some inexplicable reason, O loves chewing on them! It drives me crazy! But I'm starting to accept that he just may not be much of a doodler. Ah well, he will surely excel at other things!

He's also not much of a puzzle solver...yet. The other day, I took out a Melissa & Doug clock puzzle that I had been saving for when he was a bit older and, to my surprise, he really seemed to enjoy it! It has a block for each of the twelve numbers on the clock and each one is a different color and shape. (Combining colors, numbers, shapes, and – eventually – time concepts...I love it!) He says, "fi" (as in "five") every time he grabs a number, though he rarely actually grabs the five. We talk about the colors and, of course, the numbers, but he also is getting really good at getting the shapes to fit into their spots (though I have to point out where they belong first).

I also tried to make make my own simple puzzle for him. I found a page in one of his coloring books that had a small drawing of Elmo in a grid with a larger, empty grid below for you to draw it yourself. (The idea was to teach drawing skills by focusing only on one square at a time and then drawing what you see in each square to complete the whole picture – a concept MUCH too advanced for Owen.) Instead, I did it. And then I colored it and cut each of the squares apart. Next, I mounted them onto card stock to make them sturdier than the flimsy coloring book paper.

And since I don't have a laminator, but knew they needed a little bit of reinforcement from the inevitable destruction Owen will bestow upon them, I covered them in clear packing tape.

I've been wanting a fun magnet activity for the fridge for a long time anyway, so I stuck some magnets on the back of each piece and covered the magnets with the tape, too. (Loose magnets are a choking hazzard around here.)


O shouts, "Eh oh!" (Elmo) when he sees it, but hasn't quite grasped the concept of fitting the pieces together yet. He does like taking them off and sticking them back on the fridge, though, so that's something.

Oh, and they must be tasty, too.

In other news, I just checked Simple Mom for the latest Project: Simplify hot spot (announced yesterday) and it is your kitchen pantry and refrigerator. That's a good one for me so maybe I'll actually try to tackle this one this week. (Last week's was your kid's clothes/toys and I didn't even bother taking "before" shots of that because I knew I wasn't going to do it.) I'm still hoping they'll do my hallway linen closet because it desperately needs a renovation, but I may just have to do that one on my own...

And our basement project is coming right along. The heating guy did his thing last week and the electrician is done for now as well. I think the plumber is done, too, though they hit a snag this afternoon that I'm not sure needs to be fixed still or not. We have someone from the county coming to inspect the work thus far tomorrow morning and then, I believe, drywall can begin. Yay for walls! I just can't believe how quickly everything is happening! Let's hope for a successful inspection!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekend recap

Yes, it's Thursday (PM, even!) and I'm just getting around to blogging about last weekend. Hey, you get what you get. Here are the highlights...

My mom and two sisters left early Saturday morning and headed toward Chicago (about a 3-hour-ish drive). Our primary reason for going was to celebrate my cousin Tiffany's bachelorette party, but I was also REALLY looking forward to visiting my long-lost love, IKEA. (Oh, how I miss living closer to one!) I snagged a few items (but kept it under $200, which – for me – is pretty good.) Here are a couple things I'm super excited about:

Fabric that I plan to make a no-sew valance out of  for the
window above my kitchen sink. (SO excited about this project!)
I bought hardware, too.

Check out the crazy-looking "person" in their
do-it-yourself curtain flyer. Creepy!

Plant pot to live next to the leaner mirror
in our bedroom.

Random dark brown frames in various sizes
for a collage wall planned for the living room.

Chalkboard/Whiteboard Easel for Owen.
I've been wanting this little gem (only $15!) since
he was a tiny baby and now that we have an official
"toy room" on its way, I couldn't pass it up. 

New bedding for our room, once it gets painted
(one of these days!)

The bachelorette party was fun, but it made me feel old. I've been thinking a lot lately about how much older I am than most of the people I spend my days with, which is vastly different from my life only a couple years ago in Seattle where I was one of the youngest amongst my circle of friends. Seeing the cute, fresh-into-their-20s girls partying in the Chicago nightclubs made me feel completely out of place. Not because I wish I was that age again, living that lifestyle (I really don't!), but just because being a 30-something SAHM is decidedly un-glamourous (but I really do love it!)

I did have a blast spending so much time with my mom and sisters (they're the BEST!) and talking to my other cousin, Ashley (I LOVE her so much!) Anyway, there weren't very many blog-worthy photos of the evening, but here are a couple.

Jackie, looking like a hot shot, professional
photographer with her new camera...
and that pose!

Rachel and Mom looking very much like sisters here.

Riding in the limo
(Jackie's wearing my new jacket!)

Can you guess which one is the bachelorette?
Ashley (on the far left) was the hostess.

And for those readers who really only check this blog for pictures/updates on Owen (you know who you are), here's the good news...

He LOVES these gel window clings I bought at Wal-Mart for
a buck. But I am nervous that he'll try to swallow one, so I have to
keep a pretty close eye on him when he plays with them.

He walked around carrying this brush this morning saying,
"hair, hair, hair."

I swear, he has a TON of toys, but he really does love
cardboard boxes.

...and the bad. As I was finishing up this post, he managed to get into my spice drawer and, with cayenne pepper all over his fingers, rubbed his eyes. Not fun. I gotta go – glamour calls...

That's a framer...

Work began on our basement remodel this week and after only two days, the framework is already done! And because I have vowed to document this entire process as it unfolds, here are some photos...

Future Toy/Play room (looking through double french doorway)

Bedroom #4 (facing closet)

Office/Exercise/Craft/Storage Room (this room already existed
[i.e., was already walled off] so there's not much new here)

Family Room (back wall to have TV/bookcase; half-wall
will have a counter-top with additional, stadium-style seating.)

Kitchenette (on other side of half-wall)

3/4 Bathroom (already plumbed)

Beyond the Bathroom/Hallway will be unfinished storage area

Owen VERY much enjoys running around and between
all the beams!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So much to blog about, so little time

The problem with documenting life in a blog is that life happens so quickly and I seem to have so little free time to blog about it. There are lots of things I've been wanting to post lately, so here is a somewhat random hodgepodge for you. (The organization nut in me really wants these to all be separate posts, divided by topic and expounded upon, but the hurried SAHM in me just wants to get it all out there before the next page in this book of life turns.)

Basement Remodel
One of the things that excited us about the house we bought last spring was the hope that we would one day finish off the 1,700 square foot basement, in effect doubling our home's total square footage. And doing it ourselves meant we could do it exactly how we wanted it. (Note: We are not technically doing it "ourselves" – we've hired a contractor to do the work, but we designed the plans anyway.) 

Well, "one day" has come and we are delighted to announce that work is scheduled to begin on Monday! This was not a space that we used up to this point (except for Ryan's computer/desk every once in a while), so we are super pumped to have new living areas to spread out in! The lumber for the framework was delivered this week, which you can see in these "before" photos.

Here is a rough (and already edited) sketch of our plans. Things have already changed a bit, so I won't bother to walk you through it, but in case you were interested in the basic layout we have planned, here you go.

We will have a den/family room, bedroom (conforming, with egress window), play room, office, kitchenette, 3/4 bathroom, and storage area. It's gonna be AWESOME! I plan to take pictures and document the progress as it unfolds, so stay tuned for more. We're told the framing should be done in a couple days and the whole she-bang within 6-8 weeks. It will be an interesting next couple of months, but exciting!!!

In other news...
Yesterday was St. Patty's Day and, although we are not even a wee bit (ha!) Irish, we are "Iowish!" Thanks to my sister Jackie for making this adorable shirt for Owen.

After weeks and weeks (maybe even months and months) of Grandma V trying to get O to say "grandma," he finally has. She's been dying to know what silly nickname her grandkids will refer to her as (and since O is her first, he gets to decide, I guess), but she may not be too thrilled with what he came up with (although I find it adorable). It is very clearly, undeniably, "gobgaw." Take it or leave it, Mom...I mean, Gobgaw.

Check out the sweet deal I got on this faux leather jacket yesterday at Younkers. Originally priced at $100, it was on sale for 40% off, plus I got an additional 20% off for the Goodwill sale they have going on now. And, when I was checking out, I remembered I had a gift card left over from like five years ago – which was only valued at $4.79, but hey, every little bit helps. So, after it was all said and done, I snagged it for $46.57. Not too shabby!

And I finally have the chunky, full-length leaner mirror that I have been coveting for some time now. My sister Rachel brought it home for me from IKEA in Minneapolis the other day and I am in love. Ryan is on the fence. But never mind that – I am in love. Not sure yet of it's exact placement in our room, but I plan to play around with a few options until we get it right.

 Check it out – it's like the size of a door!

I was inspired by this room arrangement from the ever-stylish John and Sherry over at Young House Love.

And now...I'm off on a girls' weekend with my two sisters and Mom to Chicago tomorrow morning. Hitting up IKEA (yay!) and cousin Tiffany's bachelorette party (woot!) Life moves so fast! Lots more to come next week, I'm sure...