Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sleeping in Style

Last night Tucker really surprised us. I went in to check on him before bed, only to discover he was missing. He's been sleeping in his little jumping/reading nook between his two big boy beds for the past week, and with the amount of stuff he has piled in there it's a bit hard to see him sometimes. I removed his sleeping bag and pillows and it became more obvious: Tucker was not there. Tucker was also not in either of his beds.

At this point as a parent, I started to freak out. The windows weren't tampered with. The door to Austin's office was still closed. He wasn't crashed on the rug. So where was he??? Visions of Tucker wandering through the house asleep without us hearing went through my mind.

Thankfully I found him the next place I checked: under the bed. He was fast asleep under the middle of one of the beds in his room, on the hard wood floor, with a book beside him and ducky under his head. He had to have crawled under there because it is just not possible to have rolled to where he was. Totally ridiculous.

Also ridiculous was the fact that he was sleeping so soundly that I couldn't wake him up by talking or touching him and that Austin needed to pick one end of the bed up so I could sling him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and deposit him in a more reasonable sleeping location. (He did open his eyes for about a second when I put him in bed, but that was the extent of his acknowledgment of his new location.)

This morning when we asked him about it, he didn't remember being under there when Austin asked and when I asked he said there was a book under there he went to get. Hmmmmm.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Birthday videos

I just want to say that our internet is too slow to upload and watch videos. They're such a pain! Maybe these will work this time. The videos are Tucker singing hail to the Redskins in his new jersey (thanks Uncle Mike and Aunt Kat!), singing happy birthday to me, and generally enjoying his birthday morning. My apologies if not all of these go up correctly!

Happy Birthday, Tucker!

Yesterday was Tucker's third birthday and we had a fabulous day. It started with a special breakfast of baked oatmeal while we made a few last-minute transfers from his old room (the nursery) to his new big boy room. Then came the big revealing of the big boy room, which was quite a hit. Tucker knew he was going to get a big boy room when he was three but he didn't know any details (not even if it was going to happen on his birthday), and my mom and I had done all the putting together of it while he was at preschool or asleep on Thursday and Friday.

At one point Tucker turned to me and said, "I want to keep my big boy room. I love it." (I think he was trying to make sure the big boy room wouldn't go away after his birthday ended.)

He spent the rest of the morning trying out both of his new beds, his jumping/reading nook, and his new sleeping bag and pillow from GoGo. Later, I asked him what his favorite birthday present was and he said the balloons. (GoGo had gotten him five mylar balloons of Mickey Mouse and yellow smiley faces, and had also blown up regular balloons and put them all around the room.)

Of course, that's not counting the gas pump that Austin's dad thought up and made for Tucker. Tucker loves that gas pump. Last night we had two other families over to watch our town fire department's 100th anniversary parade and then eat dinner and cake. The three other kids were also in awe of the gas pump, but it was so hard for Tucker to share it. He just sat in his car with very serious eyes watching the other kids touch it. Then when I suggested he give another child a turn with the car, he dutifully got out and followed me with big, teary eyes.

At the parade. This was the longest parade ever. It took 50 minutes for the whole parade to go by. (We left the parade watching after half an hour for the fire truck shaped moon bounces.) Because the parade was to celebrate our local volunteer fire department and there were no competing parades since it wasn't a holiday, the number of rescue vehicles appearing in this parade was mind boggling. I didn't count but I'd estimate there was at least 3 dozen fire trucks from the five surrounding counties that all showed up. I promise I'm not exaggerating--and that's not counting the police cars and ambulances!!!

Enjoying dinner and Tucker's much-anticipated yellow school bus cake (he has spent more than a month talking about the cake he wanted, and the green mint chocolate chip ice cream but it turned out he didn't even touch the ice cream he was so excited about the cake!).

Conked out in his jumping/reading nook during naptime. It's hard to fit in all the partying!

Pictures from the big boy room!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Daddy, do you keep me safe?" Tucker asked at dinner last night.
"Yes, Tucker, I keep you safe," Austin answered. "Do you feel safe?"
"Yes," Tucker replied.
Five minutes later, out of the blue, Tucker added, "My toes are not safe."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Watermelon helps me grow big and strong."

Even with vegetables and meat and complex carbohydrates on his plate, Tucker repeatedly singles out watermelon as the source of his future growth. He certainly is my boy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tucker Rides a School Bus

Tucker's dreams are fulfilled: he got to ride a school bus this weekend.

We went to a fall festival on Saturday that featured local farms and seeds and harvest. Tucker enjoyed the festivals activities: sampling the melons and apples, getting to bang on the drums and shake noise makers on a blanket to accompany some bluegrass musicians, making his own cookbook, and eating a picnic lunch complete with doughnut and popsicle.

But the main event for our little boy was the shuttle ride in the school bus to and from the parking lot. Life is good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Things not to say to a pregnant woman

"You look like you're going to pop!"

"Really, you have a whole month left? Looks like it should be any day."

"Are you sure there's only one in there?"

"It's anti-Christian to find out the baby's gender beforehand." (When I was in the middle of a conversation with someone else about having just found out the baby's gender....)

These are the greatest hits so far of this pregnancy. I've received the "you're going to pop" exclamation twice in the past 10 days. Gee whiz, thanks. :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Culinary Adventures

I tried my hand at canning some tomato sauce the other day and the result was good, though the process was messier and more time consuming than necessary. I learned some good lessons for next time. Even though I have a pressure canner, not a hot water bath canner, I opted to do the hot water bath canning to start with because it's been so long since I canned anything. It was a bit awkward and intimidating. I have a very healthy respect for hot jars and boiling liquid after seeing the burns a friend from master's swimming got (who had been canning for 40 years) that kept her out of the water for a month.

I learned for next time that:
1) I don't need to sterilize all the jars and lids before filling them if I'm going to be processing them in a pressure canner or for over 10 minutes in the hot water bath. This means no lifting jars out of boiling water and makes me very happy.
2) I used the jar tongs upside down. No wonder why I melted the plastic off the handles. Smart, Jackie.
3) I need to get a circular rack to put in my canner so that I can can two rows of half-pint jars at once. That will double my capacity or halve my time in one fell swoop.

In my spare time before baby comes, I'm going to experiment with pressure canning because it's faster, and not necessarily more scary than hot water bath canning (did I mention I don't like the boiling water?) given that I already have the equipment.

In other culinary adventures, I saw a gigantic pumpkin at the grocery store yesterday and couldn't resist buying it (at about 25 cents a pound it's the cheapest vegetable I've seen in a long time). Has anyone else noticed the utter dearth of canned pumpkin on grocery store shelves this past year? Apparently there was a problem with the pumpkin crop and canned pumpkin became very scarce.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this was supposed to be a Halloween pumpkin, not a pie pumpkin because its skin was so thick I couldn't get a knife through it. Austin offered to bleach his hatchet and attack it outside the house, but I decided to just pop the whole 15 lb monster into the oven and roast it completely uncut. An hour and a half later, I still was barely able to cut through the skin (I've never met squash skin like this before--very odd) but the insides were perfect pumpkin mash. That is definitely the easiest way I've ever cooked a squash--from now on, just cook it, don't cut it.

I was going to try my hand at pressure canning the wonderful pumpkin pureee, but it turns out that mashed pumpkin is something that is not safe even to pressure can at home. Apparently the viscosity, the water content and the acidity vary so much from pumpkin to pumpkin that safe processing times can't be determined for home operations. Interesting.

(In lieu of canning, I opted to freeze the pumpkin in ice cube trays and pressed flat in quart ziplock bags so that little bits can be broken off and used at different times without having to defrost a hulking mass of pumpkin.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tucker's First Day of School

...It is hard getting many details from a not-quite three year-old, but I think he had a good time!

Monday, September 6, 2010

"This is my house!"

Tucker spends a lot of time in his own little world these days. He gets in a zone where he is off by himself, totally happy, living in his imagination. This picture is him having a picnic in our yard the other day, singing and swinging his feet.

His favorite imaginary pass time these days is collecting everything he can find into a small little nook that he declares his house. His favorite nooks are the trunk in his bedroom and his playhut bus. He fills these to the brim with throw blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, trucks, kitchen utensils, really anything that will fit. Then once he has successfully furnished his house he climbs in and talks and sings and colors very seriously. Sometimes he declares that his house is a bus or a plane that is taking him to Spain or to the moon.

More Recent Projects

We've continued to churn out the projects recently. I've been doing the random indoor ones due to the oppressive heat that is finally starting to subside, Austin the big, impressive home improvement one (ie the patio). It's just about done and it looks fabulous, of course. The weathered bricks Austin's parents gave us from their driveway renovation look perfect next to our old house. The patio definitely has character.

I painted the entryway bench from white to blue so it wouldn't look dirty all the time...

I covered our changing pad with a vinyl tablecloth so that it would be easier to clean and not look so dirty all the time...

I refinished a coffee table so that it would hide the abuse we give it (the old finish wasn't doing a very good job of protecting it from propped-up feet and cups)...

And I stripped a threshold that had been painted white many, many decades ago (I'm guessing there was at least 10 coats of paint on it). Now it hides the dirt, too (are you sensing a theme with my work?)

And lastly, I tried to dye a fleece blanket with KoolAid but succeeded only in dying my hand because the fleece is synthetic and doesn't absorb colors. If Kool Aid can dye my hand this color, it must do great things to a person's insides....

Coolest Plumbing Gadget Ever

We have one of those old bath tubs whose drain stopper has long ago been lost. This bothers me. The plastic drain plug (we've tried a couple different types) doesn't stay in when the tub is filling and so I have to bend over and hold it down until the water is at least an inch high. Annoying.

Anyway, this is the "Flip-It Tub Stopper" that you permanently insert into the drain and that you can just switch open or closed. It fits most standard tubs (even our old one--nothing in our house is standard...). Plus, it was about $10 on Amazon. I am excited by small things.