Saturday, January 21, 2012

Groovy kid

Abby is really into the funny sayings stage. I have a couple of favorites as of late.

1. She's picked up the phrase "No way, Jose" from somewhere. She likes to say that (not to negate anything but rather just to walk around saying it), but if she's saying it around me, she came up with "No way, Jo-mommy" and "No way, Jo-daddy" with Ben. That makes me chuckle.
2. I was getting dressed this morning while Ben and Abby were playing in the living room. Abby, for whatever reason, was talking with Ben saying something like "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy-o..."
3. I've heard "I don't like stoplights" a couple of times randomly while driving. Me neither, little one.
4. We're big fans of the Sandra Boynton books, and when she plays by herself, she'll sometimes proclaim "Attention, attention, attention all Pooks," a line from Happy Birthday, Pookie.

Otherwise, she can count by herself to 30, and has gotten over the hurdle of skipping 15, 16 and 17. And, she's big into going potty all by herself (I'm a particular fan of this one) and washing her hands all by herself (but she's a slow poke).

All in all, while her milestones aren't as dramatic as they used to be, but every once in a while, I think, "Wow, she's doing some cool stuff."

And in other's another girl. :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012


Disclaimer: I HATE it when companies spell things with a "Z" when it should be with an "S." That's just stupid. So is "lil" instead of "little." Dumb.

I'm a big fan of Groupon and subscribe out of both Ft. Wayne and Indy since I access both cities on a regular basis. I haven't bought a lot of Groupons in the 2 years or so where I've subscribed to it, but I have scored some deals on parking for a football game, popcorn for the boy who dearly loves it, a birthday party for the female members of my family at a tea house, and more. My most recent purchase is one that I'm particularly excited about today. (And, I think that this deal is still good for another day or two if you're interested.)

Ben and I decided to use Groupon to subscribe to an on-line meal service called E-Mealz, which sends you weekly menus catering to your food preferences/ needs as well as the store that you choose as your primary grocery spot. We got our first menu this morning and I admit that it was enjoyable to take shopping this morning; I felt like I was at the store with a purpose instead of a couple of hazy ideas about what I might make for supper throughout the week and randomly purchasing items so that I could figure out what to do with them later. We have a couple of goals in utilizing this service:

*Ease of menu planning. This is a pretty genius idea, I think. Very little expense for the people who own the company. They set up menus which and shopping lists which you then access and print off. That's an awesome business model in my opinion. But seriously, some weeks it's a struggle while other weeks I have 6 ideas about what I want to make. It's mentally time consuming as well. I'm hoping to free up that part of the process, which I don't not enjoy but would really not mind skipping during the school year when I'm consumed by many other things that I need to do or think about.
*Ease of preparation. It's really nice to have a grocery list made for you so that you can get what you need and, theoretically, don't miss anything. I inevitably do. That could cut down on return trips later in the week to the store as well. And, I still get to do my favorite part--cooking, which is absolutely more fun when it's not something that I'm throwing together haphazardly at 5:15.
*Variety. I have a decent stockpile of go-to dishes that I know we all like and are easy to make as well as full of ingredients that I often have on hand. That's nice, but some variety is welcome indeed. We chose the vegetarian option in E-Mealz because it's a lot easier to add meat into a meatless dish than it is, generally, to take meat out of a meat dish. And, we don't meat in the grocery store anymore. Instead, we bought part of a cow and have that stocked in the freezer and I have a source that I splurge on chicken once in a while. Yeah, splurge. It's the good stuff, not the factory farmed chicken, and it's pretty pricey per pound. I'd prefer to have meals planned for me that don't require me to buy a lot of meat each week.
*Timing. Ben's track season starts in about a month, which is a big burden during the spring semester as he's out of the house QUITE a bit in the evenings around dinner preparation. I could definitely use some mental relief in that department with an active Abby around. And, with another "vanilla bean" on the way, it could really help us both in the summer when our lives will be otherwise occupied. Plus, the recipes print out with the menu, so that will make it easier for either of us to be able to choose a recipe and put it together without hunting through cookbooks or searching on-line.
*Future use. These are downloadable menus and grocery lists. Which means that they're easy to save on the computer so that a one-year subscription can theoretically last beyond one year. In other words, we're thinking of it as an investment in a cookbook. With the Groupon price, it really is.

Shopping was a little more than is what I think of as our "normal," but I'm not so sure that this will be the way that it usually is. You do still have to buy all of the things that don't necessarily apply to dinner--toothpaste, a loaf of bread, milk, etc. But I also think that I bought more food than we'll need this week. I'm hoping to get a better understanding of how much to use out of the planned menus each week. But right now, I'm trying to decide whether we should have baked tomatoes and pasta or chilequilles tonight. Either way, I'm getting excited!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oh, I LOVE you...SOOO much!!

My little sweetness has entered a new phase, the ability to reciprocate the idea of love. It's pretty much the cutest thing that she's done, and it seems like every time she does something new, Ben and I say that to each other (and always agree that it is, indeed, the cutest thing that she's done yet!). But this one, ahhhh....this one is pretty delectably sweet.

For quite a while now, if you ask her, "Do you love me?" or "Do you love Mommy?" she'll respond "Yes." And if, when we're going through the bedtime or leaving routine, I say "Alright, now I need a hug and say 'Love you Mommy,'" she'll do both. But up until this past week or two, she hasn't spontaneously started to verbalize love without being prompted. And we both know that like so many things she does, she is mimicking what she hears us say with her. But it's still REALLY cool to witness. And the awesome little toddler voice just makes it all the more irresistible. She always says the same thing: "Oh, I LOVE you...sooo much!" And it comes across every single time as if the feeling of love has just snuck up to her and surprised her. It's so heartfelt in a glad/surprised kind of way. Some things that she apparently absolutely adores:

*Ben. She randomly turned to him while they were sitting on the floor in our room yesterday morning, gave him a gigant-o hug and made this declaration of affection.
*A picture of a kitten on a magazine in the library today. Funny, she doesn't share the same affection for our 2 cats. If she sees them, she wholeheartedly chastises them and tells them to "go back to your office" where they hide much of the day when she's awake. She must think that they're in a time-out because they're back there so much, though we have certainly never spoken to the cats like that in front of her. Ah well. I surmise that these three will never bond but live in unspoken tolerance of each other.
*Her stuffed ________________. It rotates every few days, though lately it's been between her kitty and her monkey. Often it's a teddy bear. Sometimes it's a penguin. It just depends on the mood and her varying need of softness.
*Her pants, the ubiquitous lovey that seems to be lost in our house about twice a day lately. I've written about her pants before, now they're just raggedier and more faded.
*Curious George. The love for this literary monkey knows no bounds right now. I could write a paper on the formulaic qualities of children's literature based solely upon this series (which, good grief, whoever has continued the series after the passing, I assume, of the original creators needs to let it go...way too many of these at the library and she knows right where this section is).

Who she hasn't uttered this little sweetness-ism to is: ME. No surprise. I'm the lesser parent preference, for sure, though she has been a touch more into me lately. She actually *wanted* me to put her coat on as we were leaving the house the other morning instead of Ben. Whoa. She doesn't realize that I'll gladly do whatever she wants (you know, within reason) if she prefers me over Ben ever. She's got some kind of 2-year old manipulative control! Until she bestows the golden words upon me, I'll just have to reiterate the message to her as much as I can, and that's no sacrifice on my part.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's Going on in There?

I'm getting a lot of questions about how much Abby realizes that she's going to have a sibling show up in a few months. In a nutshell, she knows as much as a 2-year old can comprehend.

Our most concrete conversation about it happened right after Christmas when Ben and Abby came with me to my 2nd check-up. I was telling her that we were going to the doctor but for me instead of her. She asked why, so I told her. It was one of those moments where I was sitting there thinking, "How do I answer this?" Simply put, she knows that there's a baby in mommy's tummy (though her anatomy is off sometimes and she thinks that anything on the front of me that bulges might very well be the baby...not quite, honey!). She knows that she used to be in mommy's tummy but that she's too big for it now. She knows that she and daddy do NOT have a baby in either of their tummies. And that's about it. But she's funny how she'll randomly re-assert this information. We'll be sitting on the couch reading books together and she'll lean over and pat my belly and say "You have a baby in there." Yep, my sweetness. I do.

One of the fabulous stay-at-home mommies that takes a turn watching Abby every week is also expecting, and funnily enough, just a few days after us. Apparently, there was a heated debate at the lunch table a few days ago between Abby and her little buddy Jonathan (who is himself only a few days older than Abby) about whose mommy exactly was in possession of the baby in the tummy award. It's really pretty cool that these little friends can go through this weird life-changing process together. (We're all of us looking for new houses right now also, so there's even more changes in store for the two amigos!)

I'm feeling a little sad already for life when it was just the three of us. But I'm starting to think that I'm feeling the first fluttery movements, so that makes me pretty excited. The quickening does so much for my mental ability to process just what exactly is going on in there. And then I read in the mommy-to-be guides how big the vanilla bean is approximately, and I think, "Whoa, as big as my hand...seriously cool!" It seems like it's far too soon for me to be showing, that it's just the beginning since I haven't felt any serious jabs and pokes yet, but we're coming up on half-way through. So I have to repeat again...whoa.

Pretty soon, we're going to be laughing with both of our silly boos (I'd add an apostrophe here to add distinction about how to pluralize 'boo' but that's just wrong!!) and this will all be...hazy, fuzzy, nostalgia inducing memories.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Together: A Story of Shared Vision

One more book review post to wrap up Resolutions 2011. I actually came in under the deadline on this one though it's taken me 2 days to get around posting about it. It was a short book, one that I downloaded from the library and read in 2 days.

Together: A Story of Shared Vision by Tom Sullivan and Betty White (yeah--I *think* the actress)

This was a pretty fun read, and really, it helped that it was so short. It was certainly predictable, but the plot wasn't really the point. If you've seen or read Marley and Me (and cried like I did), then you get the idea of the animal-human bond/emotion that this book attempts to illustrate.

It's an interesting plot--a young 20-something man with tons of intellectual ability and possibility loses his vision in a hiking accident and then must come to terms not only with that but also with the sheer necessity of relying on another to help him re-achieve independence and interdependence. There's the typical selfish-girlfriend-can't-handle-the-handicap problem, which is quickly resolved by the loving-new-girlfriend-who's-only-known-boy-since-he's-been-blind-and-therefore-doesn't-have-t0-come-to-terms-with-new-limitations. There's the chance for figurative redemption by re-hiking a mountain and the inevitable disaster that turns out to be the epitome of the success of this man's life-changing evolution. And throughout, you get a pretty good dose of self-loathing, bitterness, and self-pity.

But the scene where the man "figures it out" and realizes just how much this new guide dog means to him is a pretty touching moment. It's simple, but it's also forthright. And the book get's a gold star for that; the emotions are so heavy to the point of nearly overwhelming the story that it doesn't need an equally burdensome mini climax. It makes sense the way it is...the man/boy just get's it. And that, is the beauty of the dog-human relationship in the book. There's no reason why animals and humans form such intense devotion to each other. It just happens. It just is.

A good way to end a year in book reviews.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The year of the ---

SOUP and FREEZER! I came up with a "resolution" of sorts. Before every significant break for the past 2 years at least, Ben and I always say something to the effect of "We should fix a lot of stuff and put it in the freezer so that when school starts again, it will be ready." And we never do. So this is the year. This is the year when that idea becomes more of a reality.

Every month, I will try a new soup recipe and post the recipe here. Every month, I will add something to the freezer for those days when it's needed. That may not sound like a significant amount of anything, but right now, the "add something to the freezer" part sounds pretty overwhelming.

We have a decent amount of space in our chest freezer right now, so there's room for stock. There's space for stew. There's an open invitation for lasagna. And, I have containers that are begging to be filled. Pleading! Else why would they tumble out of the high cabinet in which they are stored with such alacrity?

This week, we're having either Roasted red pepper, white bean & pasta soup or Minestrone with pesto. I might whip up some Italian country vegetable soup while I'm add it and stash it in the chill chest.

I LOVE SOUP!!! It's too bad that Abby isn't such a fan yet; it must be intimidating to her or something because she likes all of the original parts just fine. We're still working on her...she'll come around! Here's to this month's soup & hopefully a trip to Whole Foods before school resumes. Delish!