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Friday, March 30, 2012

the Cookie Monster

We've had a few cooler, windy days this week and as I think I've mentioned before, I really don't like wind.  Not a little, not a bit, not at all.  I would much rather go out on a really cold day than a moderately cool day with wind. Time for a little indoor fun.  So it was time to break out my beloved RED kitchen aide mixer (I LOVE my mixer) and bake some cookies.

Unfortunately cookie baking involves some waiting.  Long, anxious moments waiting for the dough to be ready for tasting.

And then there is the welcome challenge of operating the cookie dough scooper (small motor skills, anyone?)

And finally, the tasting of the dough.  Yum!  

 And more waiting.... for the cookies to bake.  And a bit of sadness when Mama says you've had enough dough, you'll have to wait for the finished cookies.

But then, all is pure joy when finally they are ready to eat!
And the verdict?,.....

The face says it all!

Wishing you a SWEET weekend!

PS. Drop by "" and "" for a chance to win some Tiptoes Lightly books this weekend.  It's a really nice giveaway but you have to enter by Sunday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the Buddy System

 Everything is easier when shared with a friend.

This is especially true for really big challenges, like potty training.  Here is Jo-Jo taking his turn on the potty right along side Austin.  Notice little Jo-Jo on the big potty and big Austin on the little potty.

Of course accidents can happen and clothes need to be changed often.  Luckily for Jo-Jo, Austin is willing to lend a helping hand.  Teamwork.  It's what it's all about.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Omi Arrives

Omi arrived this weekend and Austin couldn't be happier.  Either could Omi. 

 But it wasn't always like this.This is a picture I thought I might never take.  You see, when I first began talking to my mom about adoption, she made her feelings about the subject known to me, and they weren't pretty.  They were pretty awful.  And hurtful.  As time went on, I learned that much of her feelings were generated by fear, mostly fear that things wouldn't work out and I would be devastated.  So in some sort of twisted maternal protective strategy, she did all she could to persuade me not to pursue adoption.  Plus, she had some pretty backward notions about the whole thing.  But I would not be dissuaded.  And as luck would have it (more likely, Divine intervention) Mom was here visiting when Austin was born.  She was with us at the hospital when we brought him home.   And I'm pretty sure Austin had her wrapped around his little finger long before the elevator made it down to the hospital lobby.  It was love at first sight for all of us.  These days, mom denies having ever said anything negative about adopting.  I think most days she even forgets that we did adopt a child, she thinks he fits in so perfectly, he just belongs.  I couldn't agree more.  And so when Austin ignores me in favor of more cuddles from Omi, or mom calls and asks how "her" baby is doing, I just smile.  The power of love is a pretty special thing.  It can erase a whole lot of ugliness, heal some big hurts and build a pretty wonderful family.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welcome Spring

Welcome Spring!

  To welcome spring we gathered a few forsythia branches and made our Easter Tree.

Austin decorated it just like a Christmas tree..... with all the decorations on the same branch!  After a bit of um, tactful suggestions, we got it decorated fairly evenly.

We've been enjoying the amazing weather spending as much time as possible outside.  I am not so much enjoying this new phase of development that blew in with the spring weather.  In the past two weeks, Austin has discovered the power of "NO".  He wakes up in the morning, I greet him with, "Good Morning Sweetpea!"  His response, "NO!  No Mama!"  I tell him the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day.  He says, " No, it's not beautiful.  I don't like it."  Ok, so this day is starting off well.  He has also taken a liking to chasing the animals to scare them.  This drives me crazy.  We talk about being gentle and kind and how to be a friend to the animals.  He agrees and then runs off shouting and waving his arms chasing a cat, or a dog, or a chicken.   Argh.  My sweet little boy is being a real little stinker.  I suppose it's the onset of the "terrible two's", the famous quest to establish  independence and self identity.   So mamas out there in cyber world, any suggestions and words of wisdom from those of you who have navigated these waters for this mama in the midst of them?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

This Day

I want to remember
 this day...
this Face...

...this little boy in this moment, with the sun shining in his hair, mud on his little blue overalls and a grin on his face

...the way he turns sticks and black walnuts into boats to sail on his "river."  
...the way he sees with such big eyes that a tiny, little creek becomes a river

....the way he walks with such purpose in his step, such determination, such confidence
....the way he swings his arms and lifts his knees as if leading an invisible marching band

 ...the freedom of living in the moment, of not knowing or caring that others are watching

I want to remember this day, today, and all it's magic.  It was extraordinary only in the way every moment is.  It is special because it will never return, never be duplicated, never be exactly the same.  As I watch my son playing,  so small and yet so independent, I remembered again what a gift each moment is.  I can't grasp how quickly these past two years have gone and I can only imagine how quickly the rest will go too.  This road to motherhood was a long one.  It was uncertain, it was a struggle, it broke my heart over and over again.  And now, with this little one growing so fast, I want to stop often and remember....

 the ordinary moments which are anything but ordinary.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Around Here

Around here, we are still recovering from a cold (uh, how many bugs has that been this winter???)  We took advantage of the warm unofficial spring days to play outside and soak up some vitamin D.  And we are looking forward to spending a weekend with Papa.
Austin is busily working on his knife skills.  This is an obsession of his and rather than try to thwart this  hobby  (ever try to thwart the determination of a 2 year old?  I think the only thing more determined than a 2 year old is possibly a three year old!) I've been teaching him the right way to hold and use a knife.  A small child's knife, that is.  He takes it very seriously.  Notice his pointer finger on top of the handle.  Pretty nice form, huh?  So I just put his little cutting board next to his lunch and dinner plate and let him practice.

And everything tastes better when you cut it yourself!

I signed up for an Easter Swap over at "This Cosy Life" which I'm really excited about.  My husband raised his eyebrows when I told him I just needed to knit 20 small things by the 24th of this month.  I spent a little more time in the planning and prototype phase than I wanted to since I wasn't sure what I would make, but at least now the yarn ball is rolling, so to speak.  And with a little less housework and a little more knitting,  I think I might make it.  The 24th is also when I need to pick my mom up from the airport.  She is coming for a visit and I guess I ought to try to tidy up before she comes. Priorities, priorities.   Knitting first, cleaning later.

 Austin product testing

Wishing you all a happy last weekend of Winter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Spring Crush

The first truly warm days of spring are always when it starts.  My heart starts fluttering a bit and I get giddy at the thought of maybe not needing a jacket today.  I tentatively step out the door, feel the air and smile. It has begun.
I have an annual love affair with Spring.  After winter (even a winter like we've just had) I am ready to heed the call of Spring, to fall in love with the outdoors again.  And it is like an adolescent crush in so many ways.  I find myself wanting to spend all my waking hours together,  looking for excuses to be outside.  Picnics at the playground, dinner in the yard, knitting on a blanket.....does the house really need to be cleaned?    I find everything Spring does fascinating.  Wow, look at those shoots coming up, gosh those buds are opening quickly, just look at those sweet ducklings.  I can't get enough of Spring's warm embrace, nothing like the good warm hug of the sun.  Of course, even crushes have their lover's spats, mine are spring allergies.  
But even between the sneezes and tissues, I am in love.   
And so, while the calendar technically still said winter, and while the ground is still brown and not green, my suitor came calling.  "Come out and play", it called, and I went.

 Austin heard it calling too.  It said, the sand is warm and dry.  Last years buckets and shovels are lonely, please come and play.

 He was only too happy to oblige.  It called,  "the creek needs someone to muck about in it.  Someone to get mud on their shoes and pants, someone to loosen the leaves with a stick."

 The child aims to please.   It called to the dog, "Come old girl, roll in my grass, feel the warmth on your belly,  let my spring newness make you feel young again."  And Daisey got up off the couch and came.

It called to the chickens, "Come and scratch, there are grubs to be found and cool drinks in the creek to be had."  And a chicken never has to be called twice to dinner.

It called out to the snake, "come out of you burrow, the air is warm.  Take the heat deep into your skin."  And the snake slithered out and basked in the warmth

It called to the flowers, "come my pretty ones, put on your finest dresses.  Your time to shine is now."  And so they are getting ready for the great Spring Ball, dressing to impress, for their time is short, before big green leaves and tall, slim grass will take their places.

And so it begins, each one heeding the call in it's own way.  Each one falling in love all over again.

How about you, are you feeling the love?

On another note, it's also time for a little spring knitting. The Gnomes are popping out ready to play.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Base Camp

It's been a kinda crazy, hectic week.  Some of the busy-ness was planned, some of it was beyond our control.  Life is like that, but it left us out of our rhythm and feeling a bit out of sorts.  Not enough sleep makes me cranky and Austin a bit whiny and needy.  We were not our best, shining selves, to be sure.  So to balance out the feeling of always being on the go, we needed a few days of just being home, catching up on sleep and hanging out with the dog.

Austin is now at an age where he can just start playing some simple games.  If you have a little one in the house, I highly recommend this one:

It's a Lotto game by Eboo.  It's cute, colorful, well made and easy enough for a two year old to play, but interesting enough for older siblings too.  It's like the game of Memory, except instead of searching for two matching cards, you try to find a card that matches your board. I wondered if it would be too hard for Austin.  Judging by the fact that he beat my husband and I in all but one game, I think he's ok with it!  He was really good at remembering which cards were where.  He would tell Brian on his turn, "Papa, you need the lion card, it's right here!" and point to the needed card.

We also played a game called Little Circuit.  I'm pretty sure the research and marketing department will not win any awards for such an odd, bland name, but the game itself is pretty good.  You put together a puzzle which forms the game board and then roll the die to move your piece along the path.  The die has two non color sides which cause you to jump ahead or move back, jut to add interest.

Games are great, but the kid in me was really excited about the new Blob watercolor paints we got.  They are made from plant extracts and smell really yummy.  They come in powder form, so you just add water to mix up the amount you need.  We loved them.  Austin wore one of Papa's old scrub shirts, which makes a pretty good smock.

He also had a blast with an old phone we have.  Remember when phones had CORDS?  And metal parts inside?  This one weighs a ton.

The Potty Chronicles

And finally, since we were planning to be home and near a potty, I decided to work a little more on the potty training front.  I have a pretty laid back approach.  I see no reason to make this any more stressful than it has to be for either Austin or myself.  I am confident that he will use the potty when he is ready.  I do not for see sending him off to college in diapers.  That being said, since he is showing an interest and has had quite a bit of success, I'm going with the flow, so to speak . (ok, bad pun, couldn't resist, sorry) And so for a few hours a day, I put him in underwear and hope for the best.

This little blue pot is not an over sized coffee mug, it is in fact a chamber pot.  And although Austin has a lovely potty with a back and comfortable looking seat and also an eye catching Thomas the Train cushioned seat for the toilet (gift from Omi) , THIS is the potty of choice.  This humble looking, small metal bowl is the object of all his potty love.  He smiles and giggles when he is "going" and then proudly carries it to the toilet to dump it in, leaving a few sloshing puddles in his wake.  He is so proud and excited.  I only leave him in undies for part of the day though, because, let's face it, there are only so many accidents, drips, leaks, sloshes and changes of clothes,  (his and mine) that this mama can deal with in one day and remain sane.  I'm sure as time goes on and he uses his potty more and more, the undies will stay on longer and longer.  But like I said, we are enrolled in the 'less stress is best' program, so for now, this is working.... sort of.  And this is what I am learning.

1.  Potty training is a messy business.
2. It is important, really important, to remind a little boy to aim downward.  Every time.  Every few minutes.  (see above mentioned note on changes of MY clothes)
3. They can go often, like every few minutes kind of often.  In large amounts.
4.  They can not go at all, even if you sit with them and read 3 Richard Scarry books and 4 Babybug magazines.  Then, as you are  helping them get dressed, they will go.  (again, see note on changing MY clothes)
5. If you are in a hurry to leave the house, they will want to try to use the potty as you are putting on their coat.
6. Rags and spray bottles, very important.
7. Stickers, good, wet socks, can only be bad
8.  There is nothing cuter than seeing the proud smile and hearing, "Mama, I DID it!" whether or not he remembered to aim down.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

a small request

I have been told that it is nearly, if not completely, impossible for people to leave a comment on my blog.  I checked my settings and made a few changes. I think that should resolve the problem.  If anyone has a minute to give it a whirl and try to leave a comment so I'll know if it's working, I'd really appreciate it.  Thanks!

A Day at the Zoo

Yesterday was a perfectly gorgeous day.  And to make it better, my husband had the day off.  Wanting to make the most of this gift of a day, we headed to the zoo.  My sister had given us a family membership to the zoo as a Christmas present.  It's a great gift.  It does not require batteries, doesn't take up space in our living room and does not have an electronic soundtrack of Elmo's voice whining at me the live long day.  Plus it gives us a chance to be together outside as a family.  Yes, there is always a part of me that wishes all the animals could be free on the Savannah, or where ever they would normally be.  But I also know that part of the reason I love animals is because I have always been exposed to them.   Zoos give people a chance to get face to face with animals they would never otherwise meet.  And having met them, they start to care about them.  Still, I am thankful for the changes in zoos.  I remember when the lions were in actual cages, with bars, pacing back and forth, instead of in large outdoor "habitats."  On today's visit, they were stretching out leisurely, basking in the sun and adoration of their audience.

I know it's definitely getting to be spring, because that special, "love is in the air" feeling was certainly on display everywhere in the animal kingdom yesterday.

 Austin and Papa got to ride on this very cool Rain Forest themed merry-go-round.  Each animal was really very beautiful and creative.  My favorites were the butterflies.

Signs of spring were popping up everywhere and it made my heart glad.

 We also got to check out this indoor exhibit for kids where everything was climb-able, educational and really fun.  There were huge bees and honeycombs, frogs and tadpole eggs, caterpillars, enormous flowers and plants, beaver dams and water, hollow logs to explore and...

a gigantic, multi-level tree, with more stairs inside than I care to climb at any one time!

Of course we visited the petting zoo, fed the ducks,

and gave the goats a lot of toddler love

And who doesn't love a really big, really red tractor!

Oh, to be two and have control of such a steering wheel!  This is what little boys dreams are made of.  Well, at least, THIS little boy.

But, what made me laugh the most, was the fun this little guy had playing with a wild domestic leaf.  With all the animals around him, all the excitement of seeing other little kids, all the sights, smells and exhibits, what does he do?

He picks up the leaf, throws it, giggles loudly and chases it, picks it up and starts all over again.  He did this for a good long while, loving it all the more with each chase.  He knows how to squeeze the juice out of life.   I love this kid.

Like I said, it was a great day, full of great memories.  I am so blessed to be alive, to be a mama to this little one and to have Brian to share these days and memories with.

Life is a gift we open one day at a time.  Some days are sweeter than others and leave a good taste in our memory.

This was one of them.

And on the drive home...

a sure sign of a day well spent.
Hope your day was just as lovely.