Tuesday, May 29, 2012

All she wants to do is dance, dance, dance!

Someone else around here also had a birthday recently.  Actually, many someones including me, Ryan, both of my parents, both of Ryan's parents, and Charlotte.  Charlotte turned 4 and had a great birthday and a great party!

On her actual birthday she got to take cupcakes to share with her friends at MOMs group at church, eat Chick-fil-a for dinner (as requested), and help me decorate her cake with "special Princess stickers THAT YOU CAN EAT!" (emphasis hers)  Thank you to the party section at Wal-Mart for the nifty Disney Princess edible stickers.

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Who'd have guessed that the bubbling footbath would be one of the biggest hits!  Thanks Mimi and Papa!

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Needless to say, someone else enjoyed the red velvet (C's favorite) birthday cake too.

The week after her actual birthday, Gigi and Ga came to visit and bring another big girl gift!

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Of course, some detailed inspection was required.  They were discussing how the pedals work and trying it out with their hands.  I'm proud to report that Charlotte is really getting the hang of her big girl bike!

We also celebrated Charlotte's birthday with a great Ballerina Party with some of her friends!  It was such a fun party and I highly recommend this for those of you with girls.  We had it at Charlotte's dance studio and the girls got to pick out a costume and they had an hour of dance games/instruction with a teach and then we had pizza and cupcakes.  Everyone, including Mommy, had so much fun!
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                                                     This dancing business is for the birds...

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I made the cupcakes and found incredibly cute ballerina toppers online.  I'm telling you, having a party somewhere other than your house, is the way to go.  We showed up with the cupcakes and ordered the pizzas and otherwise they took care of everything else!  I'd say Charlotte had an awesome birthday!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Big One

So one big thing that happened since I really slacked off in the posting department (the first time around) was that Yorke turned 1!  I can't believe he's already 1 (well, by now he's 15 months)!  Things definitely seem to go quicker with the second child.  The year went by before we knew it and he went from a 6 lb 14 oz newborn to a 25 lb 8 oz baby and to a 27 lb 6 oz 15 month old.

Yep, at his 1 year well-check, Yorke weighed 25 lbs 8 oz!  He was also 31.5 inches long.  Those stats put him in the 75-90% for weight and the 95% for height.  Um, where did my little baby go?  Just for comparison's sake, at her 1 year well-check, Charlotte weighed 20 lbs 4 oz and was 30 inches long.   That put her in the 25-50% for weight and the 75% for height.   Although he was only 4 oz bigger than Charlotte at birth, Yorke has been significantly larger than she was since about 1 month old.  I know boys are often bigger, but I wasn't expecting him to sprout up so much so quickly.   He consistently eats almost 2 times as much as she does.  Now granted, Charlotte eats like a bird most of the time with an occasional day where she is a bottomless pit.  Yorke is pretty much always a bottomless pit if he's feeling well.  Luckily they both are pretty good eaters in terms of variety and fruits and veggies.

So what did we do to celebrate Yorke's big day?  We had a family dinner on his actual Groundhog Day birthday.  It was honest to goodness HOT so, yes, he has on shorts on February 2.  We had one of favorites, pizza, and cupcakes for desert.

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Charlotte showing off the presents.

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Charlotte making Yorke laugh by pretending to sneeze with big "Ahhh-chooooos."

On Saturday, we decided to have a big party and invite lots of friends.  We had a camping-national park themed party since Yorke so loves the National Parks signs in his bedroom.   Instead of gifts, we also asked guests to bring an item to donate to the NICU.  Since they took such good care of our sweet Yorke, we wanted to give back to them!  It was a great time, but it was so busy!  I took a few pictures of the decorations and food, but not any during the party.  I guess that's what happens when you're the second child huh?

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                                          Campfire cupcakes!

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Giant chocolate fish I found at Target!

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                                         S'more favors!


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NICU donation area

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Daddy not wanting his picture taken in the tent!  Hehe!

It was a great party and great celebration of our little munchkin!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

To be or not to be

a Drama Queen?

 

Oh, there are so many meanings to that term.  Pretty much anyone with girls will tell you there will be drama.  Any woman remembers the drama of middle school and growing up.  But it seems like the more moms I talk to, the more I hear that girls are full of drama from the moment they are born.  I do think it's true that they are much more emotional and sensitive than boys.  At least, I have definitely found that to be true when looking at my munchkins.  Charlotte was perfectly capable of a tantrum at 10 months old, and did not hesitate with her emotions.  Yorke, as I mentioned earlier, is much more about brute force than emotional manipulation.

 

One thing I find very interesting about Charlotte's personality and sense of drama is that she doesn't particularly enjoy performing in front of large crowds or being in huge groups of people.  She LOVES singing and pretending and imagining.  She even loves "putting on shows" but only for small groups of family.  She will talk to anyone about anything.  (I mean she tried to show my c-section scar to the cable guy for pete's sake.  True story.)  But, she usually pulls into herself like a turtle hiding in it's shell when she gets up to "perform" in a large group.  Sometimes she cries.  It's so sad, really.  Silent, enormous, crocodile tears while the rest of the children sing or smile, etc.

 

I think it's a comfort thing.  For some reason, she is not quite herself in large groups.  I suppose the exception proves the rule because she actually performed like a pro in her Christmas play at school.  Of course, they had practiced for months and so I think she must have felt more comfortable there.  Most of the time, however, she turns into a turtle.  It's hard for me to really "get" this because I was quite the opposite.  I loved nothing more than a stage and an audience.  The bigger the better.

 

I know, as a mother, that all children are different and that she just may not feel comfortable in front of large groups.  That's ok.  That's who she is and I'm not going to push her.  In fact, pushing her makes it worse.   Much worse.  It also seems to be worse when she sees any of us.  Most specifically me.  I know that children are different when their parents are and are not around, but when she sees me in the audience or I help out at school, she gets very emotional, shy, and turtle like.  I can't explain it and I try not to let it bother me.  Her teachers assure me that she is quite the opposite when I'm not there and I'd rather have that than the opposite.  But still.

 

Case in point:  Charlotte's preschool held their annual Easter Parade this week and her class dressed up as flowers and lambs to celebrate new life in springtime.  They were precious.  The children make 2 rounds along the "parade route." (Yes, they actually call it that.  It's very "boom box Jesus" as my friend Ashley told me before the Christmas parade.)  So the first time through, I was pretty certain she didn't realize I was standing there and never saw me.  I'm not sure how she didn't see me or Yorke, but look at her sweet smile:

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I mean, she was looking right at us, but she stayed smiley and waved and moved on along.  I thought, I bet she didn't see us.  I was right.  Here's the second time around:

 

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And…. cue the pouting and sad face.   I suppose I'm glad she must've smiled the rest of the way through the parade.  I don't know if I'll ever figure out why the shyness is reserved for mommy.

 

How do your kids do in large groups?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crash Hot Potatoes



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These funny potatoes have become a favorite around our house lately.  So much so, that the the last time I made baked potatoes, my husband actually gave me a sort of pitiful look and said  "Oh, I thought maybe you were making the smushed potatoes instead."   They are quick and easy to prepare with virtually no hands on time and no peeling  or chopping.  You can adapt the amount you want to make for 2 people to 10 people without much thought.  They are also a great recipe for kids to help with, as you can see!  We're all for child labor over here!  :)

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Crash Hot Potatoes

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

12 whole New Potatoes or Other Small Round Potatoes (or however many you want to cook for your family)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add  as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.  We usually allot 2 potatoes per adult and one per child.
Line a sheet pan with foil for easy clean up ( I like non-stick foil for this).  Generously drizzle olive oil on fail or sheet pan. Place tender potatoes on the sheet pan leaving plenty of room between each potato.
With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes.  If you want more mashing, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.
Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper.  Sprinkle on rosemary or other herbs if you desire.  I only add herbs about half the time.
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  You can add some sour cream or cheese for serving if you like.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rainbow Toast

Charlotte's class has done some pretty cool stuff this year, I must say.  I really love her teachers and I've been so pleased with what she's learned at school!  They've done bubble painting, made an ice sculpture, made super cool wind bags, done "tasting parties" for different colors of foods, and other things.  On Friday I helped with their "Farm Party" and it was super fun!  They've been studying farms, so this was a culmination of the farm unit.

 

The first thing we did was to split into groups to make butter.  Each group got a baby food jar of cream and we took turns shaking it until it turned into butter.  The kids did a good job, but it was mostly mommy muscle that finally did the trick.  They were fascinated with how the cream got all frothy and then started to ball up until it made  ball of butter surrounded by buttermilk.

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Then they made cow puppets, which they seemed to enjoy.   I think they all enjoyed moo-ing the best.

 

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After the kids finished their puppets, then we got into what I thought was the coolest part of the morning.  We made Rainbow Toast!  The moms who helped out prepared small bowls of colored milk.   We just colored plain old milk with plain old food coloring.  The kids then got to paint their bread with sponge brushes dipped in the colored milk!

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After the kids finished painting their bread, we toasted it for them.  They then got to put the butter they made on their bread for a yummy snack!  They got to make another piece if they wanted and every one of them wanted a second piece of bread to paint and eat.  I cannot tell you much the kids loved this activity.  And, as a mom, I have to say I thought it was a pretty cool idea.  I would never have thought of it on my own, but I am filing this one away for future reference.  What an easy and fun thing to do at a party or just for fun one day!

 

(Just an FYI if you decide to attempt this at home.  Make sure you "dab" the paintbrushes on your bread instead of "brushing" or "spreading."  If you brush, it will tear the bread.  Also, if you're too heavy handed with the milk paint, the bread will get super soggy and not toast well.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Captain Destruction

Before Yorke was born, people who already had a girl and a boy told me how different they would be.  They told me that boys were much more prone to the "bull in a china shop" mentality.  It's not that I didn't listen.  But I will readily admit that I didn't get it.
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Now, don't misunderstand, Charlotte is busy.  Very busy!   Once she could self-locomote she has always been on the move.  I mean the first time she got "tired" we thought she was very sick.  (I'm not kidding.  We were at the beach and looking up what ER to go to.  We finally figured out she finally got "worn out"…. at 2 years, 4 months old and after 5 days of non-stop beach activity.)  She has always been inquisitive and interested in exploring and checking things out.   Occasionally I had to rearrange things to keep her out of them, but it wasn't really that big of an imposition.

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But this one.  This second one is different.  He is, as they say, like a "bull in a china shop."  He is equally inquisitive and busy.  Always moving, even though he isn't walking yet.  Always investigating.  And, he's strong.  Oh so very strong.  Charlotte has always been strong too, but she weighed a good 6 lbs less than Yorke at this age and was thus more easily wrangled.   Pretty much anyone who spends time with Yorke (teachers at church, family, friends, the nurses and doctor, etc) comments on how strong he is.  He is NOT easily wrangled.  If he decides he wants to roll off his changing table…it takes every ounce of strength in me to stop him.   Instead of throwing temper tantrums, he just throws stuff.  See the vent cover that he removed in the picture above?  He loves to throw those.  Yes, throw.  He's mostly stopped because, lucky for me, he does seem to be slightly deterred by "no."  He's still pulling them out and sticking large portions of himself into the vents, however.  He can open things Charlotte still has trouble getting open.

Not only is he strong, but he's fast.  He's quick to recognize an opportunity and take advantage of it.  If he sees an open door or the dog bowls on the floor, he will be managing some form of mischief before you can even realize he's gone.  He knows how to open doors, open the toilet lids, get things off the counters, and move furniture in order to reach something he wants.  Charlotte was definitely an explorer, but he seems to have a different level of purpose and determination.  When a cabinet doesn't open, Yorke doesn't just move on to something else.  He yanks until it either opens or breaks.   He has been into so many things that Charlotte seemed fairly content to leave alone.

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Yorke is also a climber.  I think most kids either are or aren't.  Charlotte wasn't much of one.  I was.  I think my mom thinks it Karma.  Maybe.  See those things we put in front of the TV to keep him out of the DVR/DVD player/wireless router, etc?  That plan crashed and burned when he realized he could climb up on them and stand in front of/lean on/bang on the TV.  He can balance on things in ways that I wouldn't have thought possible.  Here he is on a foam chair.  Shortly after the photo, he stood up and knocked the lamp off the table.  I didn't think the foam would hold him up so well.

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I don't really remember Charlotte breaking anything in the house or herself.  I predict that we won't be so lucky this time around.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Absolute Organics

So I've told you about our wonderful milk delivery from Lakeview Farms. We also get organic produce delivery and it is AMAZING!

Our produce comes from Absolute Organics in Charlotte.  We get the smallest sized box and we get one every other week.  It actually comes on the same day as our milk, so that's convenient.  We currently get 50% fruit and 50% vegetables.  As Yorke is getting older and eating more food, I am thinking of going up to the next sized box and perhaps changing our proportions to 2/3 veggies and 1/3 fruit.  We always eat all of the veggies, but currently we will get barely enough of each thing to make a side for one meal.  I'd like to make sure we've got plenty of veggies!  We almost always have a little fruit left over.  We do eat it all, but I think we might change our proportions a bit.

The flexibility is one thing I love about Absolute Organics.  There are multiple options for how much produce you get and what the composition of your box is each week in terms of fruits and veggies.  You can choose to get produce weekly or every other week.  We get an email 2 days before our delivery day with a list of what is coming that week.  We can make changes that day if we want, and occasionally I will do that.  We don't always do a lot of lettuce or oranges, so those are the 2 things I will usually skip if I choose to make changes.  You can also fill out a form so that if, for example, your family hates eggplant, then you will never get eggplant in your box.

The other thing I LOVE about Absolute Organics is the value!  I could not go to the grocery store and purchase the same produce, even non-organic, for the price we pay through Absolute Organics.  It's truly amazing!  I actually know someone who priced it all out with a spreadsheet and confirmed that she was saving money.  How can you object to saving money?

Something else that I love is that sometimes we will get something in our box that I've never cooked before or I'm not really even familiar with.  I had never bought bok choy, but I've cooked it multiple times now and we really like it.  I also had never heard of an ataulfo mango, but we LOVED it!

When looking for produce delivery I considered a CSA, but knew that we would likely have to get on a waiting list.  Also most CSAs are not year round.  I love that CSAs are always local, but about half of what we get from Absolute Organics is also local.  Obviously there are not any Kiwi growers in Charlotte, but I feel like the folks at AO do a great job purchasing as much as possible locally.

I will also tell you that Absolute Organics and Lakeview Farms have revolutionized the way I grocery shop.  Primarily, I spend much less time at the store, which leads to much less impulse buying and a greater focus on what I need to buy.  I mean grocery shopping with a toddler and a preschooler in tow can be an absolute nightmare less than ideal.    Even before Yorke was born, I found myself constantly at the store buying milk and produce.  Now it comes right to my doorstep!  Charlotte also loves bringing the produce inside from the cooler (1…thing….at…..a….time) and discussing each thing we got that week.  In my mind, it's is a Win-Win!

If you check into Absolute Organics and decide to try it for yourself, be sure to tell them I referred you!  :)