Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nathanael at 15 months

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It's been a while since I've had an update on the boy.

At 15 months, he's about 20 pounds, and somewhere around 31 inches. I haven't measured him recently, because the second child never gets as much attention or as many photos.

He is talking. We have confirmed that his first word was "balloon," and he still happily exclaims "Balloon!!" whenever he sees a real balloon, a picture of a real balloon, and cartoon balloon, or anything that is round and remotely resembles a balloon.

He also says things like "That! That, that that!" when he sees something he wants, like Mom, Dad, car keys, toys... He tends to stomp his feet rapidly while doing this.

Thinking of keys, whenever I get my keys, he starts waving "bye-bye" madly. If I say "go" or "post office," it's the same response.

Other vocabulary words: moon, drink, light, Mama, Da, keys, bird

He recently did his first sign: more/again. He started doing this about the same time that we taught him how to bump fists (we say "knuckles!"). He also enjoys giving a high five.

He is very ticklish. He likes to run away from me with a big smile on his face. I say "Hey, runner!" and he giggles, and runs more.

He likes to throw balls, sit on bikes and other riding toys. He also gets a kick out of bouncing on the edge of the inflatable ball pool.

(Click through for the video.)

Nathanael is a comedian. He makes faces at people that he knows will elicit a laugh.

He likes to drive toy cars on things and people. He likes to eat crayons, paper, and all manner of things he shouldn't. He loves berries, but his hiney doesn't love him when he loves berries. He eats strawberries right off the plant.

He's managing steps much more safely. This is good as our new old home will have a long flight of steps to get to the bedrooms.

He loves his daddy, a lot. Whenever Jude comes home from work, Nathanael stops him at the door, clings to his legs, and insists that he be picked up immediately.

He still sleeps in our bed, and nurses all the time. And, thinking of food, he had his first twinkie. I had my first twinkie in something like 8 years. He was messy. I was not. I think.

He had his first hair cut a few weeks ago. Jude thought the wings that stuck out over his ears needed to go. (See picture above.)

Now he looks much more like a big boy.

He loves to give Elizabeth hugs. When she gets in trouble and is sent to her room, he follows, even if she got in trouble for pushing him or taking a toy. He doesn't like to see other people upset.

He is a very dramatic person, himself. He has the best pouty face.

He enjoys reading books, but he thinks all books should be short books.

He likes music, and he likes it loud. He loves dancing, and is exploring a wide variety of dance moves.

He is a wonderful little guy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

moving, and scraping, and painting, oh my!

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Moving! Again!

Sometime in late summer/early fall we'll be relocating.  Yes, we moved less than a year ago.  And where are we moving to this time?  The same house we lived in before.

This time, however, we'll be doing some upgrading and decorating before we move in.  Since the house will be empty, that is the opportunity to fix some leaky plumbing, deal with some potentially lead-based paint (it's an old house, you know?), deal with the flooring.

I'm in seriously need of hauling my designer skilz out of the closet, dusting them off, and putting them to good use. I would love to have something fun for the kids' room, but it would need to be gender-equitable. And, it would need to work with my assorted mismatched furniture.

My problem is I'm just to indecisive.  So many options! So many potential sources of inspiration!

I would also really like to create a pleasant, cohesive bedroom space for us, that might even involve new bedding and curtains. And night stands.  And maybe a great chair, but that might be pushing it. New light fixtures would be fun, but alas, I think that's not in the cards for us.

We'll probably be arranging our main living areas differently than before, but we are still in negotiations about the final use of each space.

We're on a budget, and I have just a few weeks to really work this out before we need to get fixing and painting.  I'm hoping for something super awesome, but plain awesome will do.

Friday, June 25, 2010

expanding my food horizons

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I've been trying some new recipes recently.  My source of inspiration? The Pioneer Woman.

Here are some of my recent attempts:

pico de gallo - I've been really enjoying this. I've seriously finished off a whole recipe of this with some chips in one day.  At least I'm getting my fresh veggies for the day, right?
homemade tortillas - I loved them! so much better than store bought.  They were easy to make, but they took a long time. Rolling them out and cooking them is the longest part of the process. Perhaps  a tortilla press is in my future?
chicken pot pie - this was last done back in April, I think, when it was just a wee bit cooler outside.  very tasty!
mozzerella sticks - enjoyable, but I'll have to get the frying process better.
homemade ranch dressing - also tasty, but it would no doubt be better with fresh herbs.

And, courtesy of the simple dollar, chicken strips.  We liked them, but I cooked them just a little too long, so they were a bit dry.  The honey mustard flavor was a hit!

Are these earth-shaking foods? Not by a long stretch.  But, it has been nice to be trying out some new foods in our house.

I'm feeling the need for some baking.  The heat and humidity is holding me back a little, but I'm sure there are some tasty treats on the horizon. I've been contemplating the cake donut recipe from over at The Pioneer Woman.  Unfortunately, I think I need some victims willing to help me eat some potentially over-cooked donuts - it might take me a while to get the hang of frying them.

And thinking of fried carb-y foods - what's up with that?  So much for healthy eating, I guess.  My life would be better without some inspirations, I think.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

camping funny

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This past weekend, we went camping at a local state park. (Thanks for the loan of your camper, Bro!)

I'd not been in the showerhouse of this park before, and I was a bit mystified by the sinks.  I've seen faucets with handles, but when I turned the single knob at the sink, nothing happened. I tried another.  An elderly lady (who was likely from out of the country, as she was speaking a different language) leans over and waves her hand under the faucet.  Motion sensor.  Figures it would take a foreigner to show the local how to use the sink. The knob was apparently supposed to control temperature, although that never proved to be the case.  Perhaps someone else could enlighten me to the purpose of a knob on a motion sensor faucet?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

homemade diaper saver

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When I bought this batch of BumGenius diapers last summer, I had come across a suggestion on how to keep the Aplix on the diapers from getting ratty, curly, and loosing adhesion.

(Yes, I really did take pictures of the new diaper stash.)

The idea: Buy Velcro from the store, cut the loop side into squares, and use this instead of using the laundry tabs on the back of the diaper.

(Yes, I took pictures of the baby, with the new diapers.)

My initial batch of diapers from when E was a baby were pretty ratty by a year into use. By two years, they were nearing the end. The hook side curled. The loop side was fuzzy. The laundry tabs and the stretchy tabs were pilling. I would often have "diaper chains" coming out of the washer and dryer, where every diaper was attached to another.

(Yes, he was unsure about the whole thing.)

At first, I thought the little velcro squares might be a little irritating. I also thought that the potential benefits would outweigh the "hassle." Pretty quickly, using the velcro squares just became part of the routine. I keep the unused squares in the drawer that has all my other diapering accessories. Often, I'll take the squares off the clean diaper I'm putting on the baby, and place them right on the dirty diaper I just removed. It's not a hassle, especially considering that I don't have to struggle with diaper chains, and the diaper still look VERY nice, and not worn out.

It didn't cost much to buy. I think I paid about $4 for 36 inches of 2 inch wide velcro. I bought 2 boxes, and had some extra left (good, since I have lost a few of the squares over the last year.)

As you can see, they're pretty simple pieces.

 There's very little pilling on the stretchy part.  The loop piece on the front looks almost new.

The pink diaper was bought at the same time. I used the velcro squares on this diaper, as well, but the front loop piece is a little fuzzier.

Still, it's nice that the diapers are still in such great condition after a year of use!  I wish I had some of the old diapers to post pictures of for comparison's sake. Trust me, They looked well worn!

Friday, June 18, 2010

garden helpers

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More bounty from our garden.  If one grown snow pea and about 5 strawberries could be called bounty.

Here are the blossoms of three other snow peas.  Not bad, considering of the 8 or so plants I started with, only one managed to survive. 


So there. I've admitted it. I did in fact kill some of my plants.  I don't know why they died.  Negligence, no doubt, but it's not like I didn't water them or feed them, or move them to a more sheltered place once I realized they were being nibbled on by some creatures.  Such picky things, these plants.
On to the strawberries. 

Have I mentioned that Nathanael likes strawberries?  Because he really, really does.

He discovered the strawberries on in the pots a few days ago. I have to watch him like a hawk when we are outside. Otherwise, he'll try to eat the strawberry right off the plant.


He sure is cute. 

We had some strawberries after lunch - warm, juicy and tartly sweet.

We're really enjoying our container garden!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NTDI: episode 5 - what goes up...

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Just when I thought I had a handle on things.

There's been some return of stink. Just a bit. But enough to let me know that I can't be complacent in my laundry. I let a few things slip. The weather hasn't been cooperating with me to sun the diapers.

I had been trying to get in the habit of rinsing every diaper before depositing in the diaper pail. I even moved the diaper pail to the bathroom, so it would be a convenient reminder to rinse the diaper with the diaper sprayer that is attached to the toilet. I missed a few here, a few there...

Then, the city decided to flush the water hydrants. When that happens, the water supply turns a nice rust orange for a few days. Two years ago this happened, and I didn't catch it before I put the diapers in the washer. Everything came out permanently rust orange. Having learned my lesson that time, I knew I wasn't going to let any of the diapers approach the water supply until it cleared up. Four days later, I had a diaper pail half full of unrinsed, stinky diapers. Since I had realized that I wouldn't be washing diapers for a few days, I pulled out the disposable diapers from the closet, and saved my self the headache of washing diapers for two days straight.

I think perhaps some of the odor got a little set into the fabrics. Perhaps if the sun would agree to shine upon us again, I can get the diapers out for some high quality sun time. I think that will help resolve the minor lingering stink issues.

Overall, though, I've been pleased with the performance of the diapers for night time. No leaking, no fussing kids.

A review of what I've been using recently for night time:

Elizabeth - a toddler sized-prefold from Green Mountain Diapers (larger than a regular prefold) with a Hemp Babies Little Weeds hemp/cotton insert, with a Snappi, covered with either a Bummis super whisper wrap large cover (Froggie Pond!) or a celery green Thirsties wrap (also large). Sometimes I use a Proraps classic large cover, too.

Nathanael - a BumGenius OneSize pocket diaper, stuffed with two BumGenius microfiber inserts. Ever since I got the stink out, microfiber at night hasn't been an issue. It's trimmer than using a prefold, so even though the prefold is almost guaranteed to not stink or cause ammonia burn, I keep trying to get the kid back into microfiber. It works for us for now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


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If I'd wanted a house boat, I would have bought one.

I couldn't get a picture of the house surrounded by water, because it would have required a canoe and several life jackets to get me and the kids out of the house. Instead, our neighbor's house. I feel bad for them. They have dogs, and there's no where for the dogs to be let out to do their business.

It's been kind of incredibly rainy recently. Two times in the past week, there has been enough water on the ground, that my concrete sidewalk was underwater. By 2.5 inches. Other portions of my yard were covered my more than 6 inches of standing water. My brother's camper is about to float away here. Good thing we anchored it.

There are now pale white, dead earthworms floating in my back yard. It stinks. I didn't take a picture of that, though. It's kind of disturbing.

The water got higher than it was when I took these photos. We had to empty the garage of stored items since there was more than an inch of water in there.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

garden harvest

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I harvested the first "fruits" of my garden a few days ago. Lettuce and onion greens. I forgot to take a picture. The onion greens were fine. The lettuce? apparently I let it go a bit too long, and it was a little bitter. Eating it along with something else covered the bitterness, but still a little disappointing. We'll see if the second harvest will also be bitter.

Our strawberries are growing nicely. I'm guessing I'll need to net them soon to keep our bird friends from eating our berries before we get to.

I discovered green cloverworms in the half-barrel that is containing my snow peas and zucchini. When I went to check my green beans, I found them there, too. I'll be checking daily to see if I can pluck them from the plants. I put a couple of them in a jar when I was investigating the kind of catepillar I had, and I found that they can eat through a leaf pretty quickly. Clearly, it is imperative that I keep them from my plants if I want my plants to survive.

My tomato plants have blossoms on them. Yay!

I'm still pleased that I haven't killed most of my plants yet. Although, I think my transplanted garlic might be done for. I think we forgot to water it a few times. Oops.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

How does my garden grow?

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It's been about a month and a half since I last posted about my garden.

I haven't killed anything yet.

Everything that I planted from seed has sprouted. All the seedlings I planted have survived transplanting.

The onions, lettuce and spinach are doing okay, but they're not growing as much now. They had been getting yellow and stunted. We had a a few week of near constant rain and then lots (think 5 inches in one night) of rain in the course of a day, and I think that might have caused some trouble in the plants being over-watered, and under-nourished.

The parsley has sprouted and looks like it should do alright, but the chives rally haven't grown much in the last few weeks. Maybe the same problem as the lettuce.

My sunflowers are growing nicely, and the peppers have finally sprouted.

(From bottom to top: sunflowers, peppers, and cucumbers.)

The tomatoes and cucumbers are doing alright. I bought the seedlings a more than a month ago, but only just got them potted a couple weeks ago. Not dead yet!

(A few leftover strawberry plants I couldn't fit in my other containers in the pot on the left.)

The peas are looking kind of puny. Something has been nibbling the ends of the plant, and the lower leaves are yellow and spotted. I'm not sure what that is all about. The zucchini plants are doing well, though!

I thought it might be deer, since Jude discovered some deer tracks in the ditch in front of the house. I moved this planter inside the fenced back yard.

All the snow pea plants are growing some nice green leaves that haven't been damaged since moving the barrel, so perhaps problem solved.

The beans are doing okay. Also a little yellow, but the leaves that got sun burned a few weeks ago (because I watered too late in the morning) are doing okay.

The peas used to sit to the left of the beans, right out on the driveway.

I ended up buy some different strawberry plants, and they are doing very nicely. They are a tri-star variety, and they are supposed to be ever bearing (so, hopefully some fruit throughout the summer). I have several pretty white blossoms.

I also have some blossoms that have faded and are now growing into fruits!

I rescued some garlic from my former garden (apparently we didn't get all the cloves from last year, and it lived on!) and put them in a pot. I thought they might die because they were handled pretty roughly, but they have pulled through and I have a pot of garlic greens that I hadn't expect in my container garden.

I forgot to take a picture, and it's hot - you saw the thermometer a picture or two ago? 100 degrees? (Yes, I know it's in the sun, but still...) So you'll have to trust me that they are not dead.

I hope I can resolve the yellow leaves problem. I've added some organic powdered plant food that has all three fertilizers (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). I had been using a different liquid organic plantfood, but it only had nitrogen, which is fine for growing green, but not so much for putting on fruit (so I've read).

I am generally pleased with the progress of my garden. We're looking forward to harvesting our reward!
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