Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chef Tucker

Tucker made his first batch of chocolate chip cookies last week and is now firmly hooked on cooking. He helps me make his oatmeal or granola in the morning and is very enthusiastic about any shaking, pouring, stirring or squeezing activities.

I find his description of tastes particularly endearing right now--everything that is sweet tastes like chocolate (or sometimes, strawberries). The strawberry jello he made yesterday tasted like chocolate, according to my little man. The rootbeer lollipop from last week tasted like strawberries. He was so excited about making cookies that he insisted that even the flour that got on his hands tasted like chocolate.

P.S. The picture is Tucker getting ready for football season.

Monday, August 30, 2010

You are grounded

Ben is officially grounded for the next few weeks. We are confining him to the house with only supervised potty breaks and supervised outdoor time.

You may be wondering why he's lost his outside privileges. I have one word for you: dirt. The dog can't stop eating dirt.

Ben has always eaten everything, including occasionally munching on potting soil (always the store-bought kind) from our planters. But recently the combination of digging up the area for a patio behind our house and doing some grading around the foundation to improve drainage has proved too much for him. Ben has developed a taste for plain old red Virginia clay.

It may surprise you, but eating dirt all the time doesn't do good things to Ben's digestive system. Specifically, it does bad things to his digestive system that result in messy floors EVERY SINGLE morning. Yuck.

I hear it takes three weeks to form a new habit--I'm hoping it will only take three weeks of supervised potty breaks to form a new habit of not eating dirt. Silly dog.

P.S. FYI, I'm aware that new tastes for the inedible can be a sign of worms or dietary insufficiency so we're exploring those avenues, too, though with Ben's shiny coat and having never contracted worms in all these years of eating nastiness, I'd be surprised if those were the culprit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does this sound like naptime to you?

Tucker spent his naptime today driving his ride-on car around his bed, then standing on top of the seat and dive bombing onto his pillows. For some surprising reason, no sleep occurred.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Daddy took my nose and hid it in the closet."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I don't want to make real cookies. I want to make chocolate cookies."
-Tucker after I told him we would make real cookies together today (he usually just bakes imaginary ones in his oven)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recent Projects

I've been doing a flurry of crafts recently... the things that I know I won't get to for ages and ages after the baby comes. I finished up my project for work before I left for Spain so I'm basically footloose and fancy free with respect to employment now and am enjoying the extra time.

Above are a few pillow covers I made (the chicken one I had on hand) for the baby's room... I made matching curtains with the fabric on the right. Below are picture frames I made out of one of our old windows that we recently replaced. We're going to hang them on the stairs (when I say "we" I mean Austin, because I don't trust myself to hang heavy items in plaster walls).

Further below is a tote bag I made on the spur of the moment after re-discovering some fabric I had that I really liked, and a tag quilt for the baby for Christmas (they were just giving the ribbon away at Michaels, and again, I had the fabric on hand... have I mentioned I stockpile fabric?).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Napping, and other accomplishments

After a hiatus of more than four months, Tucker has begun napping regularly again. I have been hesitant to put those words into print lest that jinx this new trend, but I am cautiously optimistic that my stubborn boy will continue actually sleeping during his rest time. Why is this so nice? First and foremost, we have had zero tantrums since the napping has become somewhat consistent again. ZERO. It is so much nicer to be around a well-rested two year-old than a cranky-hyper-tired one. Enough said. Second, dinner time isn't so much of a crunch. Without a nap, Tucker disintegrated at about 6 pm, which meant we needed to start putting him to bed by then at the latest, and to do a bath, much earlier. A 7:30 bedtime is much more civil for everyone involved.

Other recent developments in Tucker's young life include his interests broadening from all things wheeled. I've heard that you usually can categorize boys into truck boys, ball boys or dinosaur boys. Tucker has always been a truck boy, and he still likes his trucks, but the days when the trucks march all over the house and are inseparable from him seem to be gone, at least for now.

In the meantime...
*This summer balls are quite the hit and he is very interested in throwing them, collecting them, rolling them and trying to catch them.
*Tucker's imagination is exploding. He rounds up his Winnie the Pooh characters and enacts things with them, talks to them, etc. Sometimes it's harder now to figure out what he's saying because half the time it's some imaginary thing that has no basis in anything close to what the conversation at hand is about.
*Tucker's love of dressing up continues to grow. His latest acquisition is a football helmet which he runs around the house with. He also likes to put on his mud boots as a fashion statement, and to dress us with hats. Poor baby sister--I fear she will be dressed funny by her older brother.
*Tucker is very into reading right now, and into snuggling in bed. He will get up on any bed, at any time, crawl under the covers and say its night-night time. He also loves to "read" to Ducky, and will read books by himself for long periods of time. He especially loves his Bible--but will only read the stories about Jesus. He gets mad when I try to read him other ones.
*Tucker's creativity is blossoming into the first artistic urges I've really seen. He sits at his table and methodically scribbles with his markers, and paints pictures that take more than two seconds each. He proudly presents them to me and waits for us to hang them up in the hallway upstairs.
*Tucker is also obsessed with his upcoming birthday. We began talking about it to get him ready to switch rooms (which will happen on his birthday), vacating the nursery for a big boy room... but we began talking about it so early that he is ready for his birthday NOW and it's still more than a month away.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Garden update

Our garden weathered our long vacation much better this year than in years past because we had house sitters this year. In fact, Ben the dog weathered the long vacation better than in years past as well--he always is hyped up and neurotic when we pick him up from the kennel, but I think he might have liked the house sitters better than he does us (more treats?). His welcome home to us was more like "Oh, you guys again?" (Okay, slight exaggeration.)

Tonight we were doing our mid-year garden review and here's how things stand:
-Great corn (looks like we'll be in business for a long time due to Austin's strategic successive plantings)
-Bumper crop of cherry tomatoes
-Regular tomatoes are bouncing back nicely from some rot issues and look like it will be our best crop yet
-Beans are a much better variety than last year, but we could easily eat double what we've planted
-Malabar spinach is a new type of heat-resistant green that is working out really well and is tasty
-The pepper plants we grew from seed turned out to all be weeds and so we have no peppers
-Our basil has been slower than hoped for--next year we'll jump start things with starters rather than growing this from seed--we haven't been able to make any pesto yet (and my boys can't eat the store kind because of nut contamination issues)
-Not nearly enough okra
-All of our squash (winter and summer) shriveled up and died--this is the same thing that happened to all but the earliest squash that we planted last year. Next year we'll have to do early squash, and the hardiest types available (zucchini and butternut)

As for the fall, we're set to plant four old stand-bys: mesclun, spinach, kale and brussel sprouts and we'll try three new things: rutabaga, turnip and fennel. We've also decided to switch back to buying all our seeds from a local mail-order seed company rather than scrounging packets together from the hardware store and big box stores. I think some of our lackluster garden performers may be due to seed quality and choice.

A couple videos from Spain

Here are a couple videos of Tucker getting into the birthday spirit, celebrating GoGo's birthday (he missed the party because it was too late at night but he certainly had enough birthday enthusiasm with all the party remnants).