thirty-three in, six to go...whoa!

Little bitty boy,

I have been carrying you in both my belly and my heart for the past 33 weeks. Wondering who you will look like, about your personality and your place in our growing family.  There are still moments, some days, where I don't feel very pregnant, likely lost in the daily toddler mama activities, work and household duties.  But, you are quick to give me at least hourly reminders that you are with me and growing big and strong.  You are on the move near constantly these days. Rolling, kicking, pushing out.  Watching you move in my belly has become my favorite source of entertainment in quiet moments.

We have been a bit slow in getting things ready for you.  Slowly getting the room together that you will share with your big brother until we find a new home.  Clearing out space for your tiny clothes.  Starting to stock up on diapers.  While we may be slow in these physical duties, it is no reflection on our anticipation and joy awaiting your arrival.

In no more than six weeks we will find out whether you will look, to my predictions, just like a mini replica of your big brother.  No more than six weeks until we hold you in our arms, give you your name and welcome you to our brand-new family of four.

I love you to the moon and back already,


Two years ago...

Two years ago today, the meaning of Christmas Eve forever changed for our family with the arrival of our sweet little boy, George.

We love you to the moon and back again, G!!!



sweets of the season...

Christmas is nearly upon us and our life from early November to now has been a whirlwind of G's second birthday preparations, a bout with the croup, getting our nursery ready to fit both our growing toddler and our baby-to-be, holiday shopping, crazy work schedules, my sister's wedding and a partridge in a pear tree ;-)

Though juggling all of this has had it's challenges I have also been very aware of our many blessings:
  • a healthy pregnancy and feeling this new life move and grow
  • a happy, healthy, energetic and sweet as can be toddler
  • a warm home that we own and enjoy
  • gainful employment
  • the love of family
This past Sunday we attended church and gave thanks for all of your blessings while celebrating Advent.  After mass, we walked over to the church hall where a coffee hour and luncheon was set to begin.  George was enamored with the lights on the christmas tree and, of course, the many cookies ready to sample.
 Look at the joy on his little face!
And, speaking of cookies, this year I attended my very first cookie swap.  Though there are favorites I bake nearly every year, I wanted to try something new and festive for this event.  In one of my online groups another mom had posted a recipe for Peppermint Meltaways that seemed to fit what I was looking for.  Though more time and labor intensive than I had anticiapted (note: take butter out to soften before leaving for church), I was happy with how they turned out.  If you have a few hours of dedicated baking time before the Christmas festivities this weekend, you might want to give them a whirl...
1 cup unslated butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (or more to taste)
2 to 3 drops red food color, if desired
Candy canes or hard peppermint candy, crushed
Combine butter, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and cornstarch. Beat until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate until firm (30 to 60 minutes).

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls (I used a small cookie scoop for uniformity) of dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets (be gentle with this as the still warm cookies are quite delicate). Cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Stir in food color, if desired. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy. Alow to set out until glaze/icing hardens.
Note: I made a triple batch and decided to ice the cookies rather than use a looser glaze.  The frosting set up/hardened nicely when set out overnight. I ended up adding at least three times the recommended peppermint in the frosting as I preferred a stronger flavor.  Add more to taste as you mix and decide on the consistency you'd like.
and may all the blessings of the season be with you and yours...


not since 1950...

In October.
In metro-New York.

If I hadn't been here to actually experience the storm and it's continuing aftermath, I'd never have believed it. So, what's the big deal about 6" of snow?  New Yorkers see snow every year so, why would this be such a huge deal? 

One word: Leaves

Add 6" of very heavy, wet snow to trees that are still completely full of leaves, just beginning their color changes, and you have a disaster on your hands.  Trees that just hours before stood tall and proud, were bent, broken and some completely toppled under the weight.  Those same weighted limbs came down on power and telephone lines, effectively crippling dozens of towns and plunged millions into the dark. 

The storm started with a few innocent looking flurries around 11:00 am on Saturday.  My parents were in town to visit for the weekend and, deciding that being outside wasn't the best option, we packed up and headed to the mall.  Not a problem getting there but, when we emerged from the parking garage three hours later and made our way out of the mall lots and to the highway we were plunged into what felt like an instant time warp.  It looked like January!
The ride home normally takes about 15 minutes.  Let's just say it was far longer this time.  My mom entertained G in the the back seat by singing the ABC song over, and over..and over to his delight.  Each time she would stop, he'd sign and sweetly request, "More?"  Who could resist?
As we finally crawled through traffic into town, I asked my Dad to snap this photo of our sign with my phone.  All decked out for Halloween...or is it Christmas? You decide.
We learned on our way home from the mall that we were without power and so were my in-laws (where my parents were staying).  So, we ordered a pizza for dinner and picked it up before driving the final few blocks home.  Pizza works in every situation, right?

We toughed it out at home that first night.  The house was still warm and we were able to keep G entertained after dark by using a few jar candles and a few strategically placed head lamps (hung from wall frames, ceiling fans, etc.).  The gear of a bridge climbing husband is very handy in a power emergency. By morning, the house was measuring 65 degrees. We all packed up and went out once again. This time though, the roads were clear, there was bright sunshine and the snow was already melting away.  An odd contrast against the green leaves and grass!  That night, knowing the temps would drop off further, we took our relatives across town up on the offer of staying at their fully powered home. 

By Monday at 4:30 pm, our power was blissfully restored.  We lost all of the food in our fridge and a few things in the freezer.  But, thanks to vacuum sealing and having a full drawer, our entire freezer stock of meat was still frozen solid!  Everything was back to normal in our little world.  Or, was it?

Tuesday afternoon, on my way home from work, I went to the grocery store to stock back up on the perishables we had lost.  It never crossed my mind that our regular grocery store a town over would have been affected worse than we had.  Boy, was that wrong!  It turned out their power had only been restored a couple of hours before I walked through the doors.  The staff were working on overdrive trying to re-stock departments from the generator powered coolers and freezer where everything had been moved days before.  I stood in the aisles gaping at what I saw until I finally came to my senses and snapped a few photos for posterity. 
You want produce?  So sorry.
Ice cream, yogurt, eggs, juice, cheese? Nada.
The voice over in my head played, "You have now entered the Twilight Zone." Slowly, slowly, life is returning to normal.  And, I admit to not at all being cut out to be a pioneer woman!

and the winners are...

Thank you so much for entering the Shutterfly.com holiday card giveaway and for sharing your favorite part about the holiday season.  The winners are:

#3 - Sarah M.
#4 - iykuykur
#7 - Jes

Congrats ladies!!!  Please send me an e-mail at collagechic (at) gmail (dot) com by Monday, November 7th to claim your prize code.


a spooky, wild halloween...

Living in Headless Horseman territory means that Halloween is a month-long event.  Banners fly high over the main street, telling the tale of the night the monster rode across the famed bridge.  A sinister scarecrow greets all those who dare drive or wander the streets.  It is a sight to behold. And the traffic from all of the tourists?  Possibly the spookiest part of all! 
This year, we added our own little blue monster to the mix. Activities for the youngest goblins in town took place on Friday afternoon.  Little did we know that these would be the only town activities we would be able to experience this year as Mother Nature had an entirely different type of scare up her sleeve the very next day (more on that coming soon). 

So the monster was suited up and we made our way through town charming, er, scaring, everyone in our path...
And a wild, wonderful time was had by all...especially Mama and Baba who soaked up every minute of this little monster's joy.


it's beginning to look a lot like christmas: a giveaway!

{Comments have now been CLOSED and winners will be announced soon!}

When I envisioned sitting at the computer to write this post, I figured it would be at home, after George's bedtime, comfy in my pj's on the couch or at our kitchen table.  Little did I know, Mother Nature had other plans and decided to throw winter and thoughts of Christmas our way far sooner than usual. Meaning SNOW. On October 29th. In metro-New York. This was the scene in our house yesterday as the snow fell hard outside our window:
George, with nose pressed against this window exclaiming, "Snow!"  Yes buddy, snow.

So it is fitting that tonight, as I sit on a recliner at a relative's house (we are without power indefinitely due to said snow, but that's another story), my thoughts are turned to our 2011 Christmas cards..and yours! 

For the past three years, I have ordered our holiday cards from Shutterfly.com.  I use their photo printing services regularly and also love their cardstock stationery, so ordering for the holidays was a natural extension. This year, the early snow has me considering our card design much earlier than normal...and wondering if I'll be able to get a good shot sans snow! Here are a few of my favorites designs right now, all so different and a lot of appeal to all. This first design is so much fun and appropriate to all we have experienced this past year and are expecting for next...
This is a bit more classic, allowing for both a family shot and a single portrait of George...
And, a beautiful traditional design...
I'm not sure how I'll decide until I get the photos underway but, am confident I'll find a design that fits our family this year.  Our Christmas cards paired with custom thank you notes will add the perfect personal touch to our holiday.

So, where do YOUR cards come in?  Shutterfly is generously giving away 25 of their beautiful holiday cards to three, yes, three of my readers.  I'm so grateful and thrilled, and hope you are as well. 

Here's how you can win your very own set of 2011 holiday cards:

1) Leave me comment on this post telling me that you'd like to win a set of cards and your favorite part of the holiday season

That's all.  No catch, no running around linking up posts.  Just a simple givaway from Shutterfly and me, to you, just in time for the holidays.  Pass it along to your friends and good luck :)  Winner will be announced on Thursday, November 3rd.

Standard disclaimer: Shutterfly contacted me to offer this giveaway and I am receiving compensation in the form of our holiday cards.  I only blog about companies that I have worked with in the past and where I am happy with the products and/or services I have received.


dirt and noise and joy...oh BOY!!!

Becoming a boymom to G has been one of the greatest joys of my life.  From holding his tiny, squishy, newborn self to wrangling the super active toddler of today, I have cherished every moment.  And, I have learned so much in these past 21 months.  Being a boymom means:
  • Embracing dirt.  The dirt will find it's way into pant cuffs, under fingernails, in their hair and scattered all over the floors.  There will be lots and lots of dirt.  Boymoms: arm yourself with a fully charged dust buster at all times.
  • Noise.  There are very few quiet moments in a home where a young boy resides.  Even in solitary play there are grunts, howls, beeping things, shouts of "vroom, vroom", "choo-choo" and (beware this one), "uh-oh!"  Boys are noisy creatures by nature.  Your ears will adjust, I promise.
  • Things that go. Anything that can be turned into a vehicle or projectile object (a.k.a. anything not nailed down) will move, fly, be pushed or slid across floors.  Boys like things that move.  Chances are, if it is stationary, it will quickly fall by the wayside.
  • Being adored. When people first heard we were having a boy, I was told time and again that "Boys love their Mama."  How true it is.  Boys will love you with a leg hugging, finger-crushing hand holding, sloppy kissed, burrow into your neck and heart adoration. This, above all others, is my very favorite part of this job.  No number on a paycheck could ever compare to the love of my little guy.
Learning and embracing all things boy has been a joy and, coincidentally, has prepared me well for the next step in my journey of mommyhood...

Meeting another noisy, dirt-loving, squishy and sweet little boy in February 2012!
{20 week portrait}

We are already in love and so excited to welcome this little one into our family.


meal plan monday

A few months back, when I had signed up for E-Mealz menus, I had all good intentions of posting my weekly meal plan. That temporarily fell by the wayside but, I'm going to start it up today. This week's menu is a result of a well stocked freezer and pantry. Buying a few extras of pantry items and meats (to freeze) when on sale occasionally yields a light grocery shopping week. Easier on the wallet and on my time = win/win!

Monday: Creamy Baked Ziti
Thursday: Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry
Friday: Honey Mustard Bacon Chicken
Saturday: Pierogies and Smoked Sausage
Sunday: Apple Braised Pork Chops

Tuesday and Wednesday we eat dinner at my in-law's. My mother in law generously cooks for all of us the days she cares for George while I'm working.

What's on your menu this week?


recipe: pumpkin chip cookies

Happy first Monday of October! Fall weather has finally arrived in our corner of New York with cooler temps, leaves just starting to show some color and a full calendar of autumn events. This is my favorite season for so many reasons, among which is the ability to turn the oven back on, welcoming the resulting warmth in our home. And, naturally, all things baked with pumpkin and apples. The crisp weather inspires me to try new recipes and treat family and friends to long-standing favorites.

Yesterday morning was spent apple picking and playing in the pumpkin patch at a local orchard with my two guys. You would have thought we had brought G to Disneyland for the excitement on his face upon seeing the thousands of apples within his reach! I'll be reliving the joy of that hour exploring the orchard in my memory for years to come.
When we returned home, after scoring a bag of honeycrisp apples and a bounty of difficult to find 15 ounce cans of pure packed pumpkin, it was time to bake. I'd always liked the idea of a pumpkin cookie but had never found a recipe that peaked my interest until I came across this one on allrecipes.com - the measurements ensuring a large batch (who wants to bake cookies with only a 2 dozen yield?) and a subtle pumpkin flavor. The reviews were excellent and more than delivered. The result was a moist, cake-like cookie with a hint of pumpkin, just the right amount of spice and, naturally, chocolate. The batch yielded a staggering 7 dozen so, be prepared to share, bake for a party or to freeze some for a later date.
Pumpkin Chip Cookies
Yield: 7 dozen

1.5 c butter, softened
2 c packed brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
1 (15 oz) can pure packed pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c all purpose flour
2 c quick oats
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
2 c (or more) chocolate chips (I used milk and white chips)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla (will be a light, fluffy mousse-like consistency). In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, spices and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Drop by tablespoonful 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool for 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Nothing to see here...

If you view my blog in a reader and see a pop up post with today's date...please disregard. It was a posting error.

Thank you!

Back soon with some new pics and *gasp* scrapbook pages!!


recipe: baked chicken and sweet potatoes

I tried this recipe for dinner on Friday night and it was so delicious (and simple) that it had to be shared. As chicken is the protein of choice in our house, I've tested numerous dishes over the past few years. This is going into my top 5 favorites. Fool-proof, incredibly flavorful and easy on the budget. I'm already looking forward to making it again.

One-pan Baked Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

3/4 c Zesty Italian Dressing
4 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 4) cut in 3/4 inch wide spears
4 lbs chicken pieces (I used legs and thighs), on the bone

Heat oven to 375.

Mix salad dressing, brown sugar, vinegar and thyme in a bowl. Add potatoes, toss to coat. Transfer potatoes to lasagna or roasting pan (approx. 15x10x1"), reserving dressing mixture in bowl.

Add chicken to reserved dressing mix, toss to coat. Place in pan with potatoes. Pour remaining sauce over chicken.

Bake 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through (165 degrees).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


still here...

i am...

minus a home computer

living life rather than writing it

making big decisions

adjusting to big changes

being mama


starting to bake again

project life-ing

thankful for each day

he is...

busy, busy, busy

still loving trains

not sleeping much

cutting more teeth (see above)

exquisitely adorable

filling us with wonder and awe

almost 21 (???) months

i am still here, just focusing on other priorities and waiting/planning to see where life will take our family in the upcoming months.  all good stuff.  and i'll be back, all in good time...


loving the lake...

We are just home from a wonderful, recharging weekend at the lake with my family.  Every time I am fortunate enough to take a trip upstate to my aunt and uncle's lake house, I'm transported back to happy childhood moments, full of laughter, imagination and nature.  It is a blessing to share that with Mr. Boom and George.

My favorite shot of G:
Sharing an apple with Baba in the pop-up toddler tent:
On this trip, we were able to meet the newest member of the family - Baby L (with his mama, my cousin Jules).  So, adorable!  It is amazing how short memory is at times.  Though over 14 pounds and closing in on 3 months, he looked impossibly tiny to me and I kept thinking, "How was G ever that small?"
(as always, click on any photo for a larger, better quality image)


the destruction of a fruit pop...

Introducing homemade frozen fruit pops to G's snack selection this summer was simultaneously a very good and very bad idea.

Good idea:
- helps beat the heat
- healthy
- actually gets him to sit for more than 5 minutes
- he loves them

Bad idea:
- he wants a "pop" all. the. time.
- right after his morning milk, he takes my hand, pulls me over to the freezer and asks, "Pop?" To which I answer, "Not right now George." Insert crying toddler.
- minutes after finishing breakfast, he takes my hand, pulls me over to the freezer and asks, "Pop?" To which I answer, "Not right now George." Insert crying toddler.
- upon waking from a nap, he takes my hand, pulls me over to the freezer and asks, "Pop?" To which I answer, "Not right now George." Insert crying toddler.

You get the point, right?  I think he would eat a dozen pops a day if allowed.  Luckily, every day, he does get one (and sometimes a second) pop and I get to be the "Yes!" mom.  For that, I am handsomely rewarded with seeing this:

And, yes, I have moved on to less stain-er-iffic fruit combinations after the first very colorful batch.  It's a journey and an adventure...


recipe: ground turkey with potatoes and spring peas

On Monday's post, I mentioned incorporating some of our family favorites into our weekly meal plan.  Although it has been great to try new things (especially since the recipes have all been quick and easy), inserting an old favorite or a new must-try is also good. Yes, it means tweaking the grocery list, thus complicating the point of using a generated meal plan a bit but, to me those few extra minutes are worth the effort.

I have hundreds quite a few recipes tagged in my Google Reader, just waiting to try out.  In the interest of the heat of summer (no oven, please!) and busy evenings (make it quick!), not many have been attempted recently.  But, glancing through my tags last week this one called to me yet again.  So, I added it to our meal plan and grocery list and gave it a whirl. 

I'm SO glad I did!  It was a fresh change, used only one pan, was a bit different on the taste scale (I rarely use cilantro) and super easy.  Here is my (slightly) modified version:

Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Spring Peas

1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes, well drained
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
20 oz lean ground turkey
1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup frozen baby peas, defrosted
3 red potatoes, washed and diced into 1 inch cubes
8 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cumin, or to taste
salt, to taste
1 bay leaf

1. In a food processor (or you can chop by hand) finely chop tomato, garlic and cilantro.
2. In a large skillet, brown turkey and season with salt and cumin to taste. When meat is browned and cooked through add onion, chopped tomato mixture, peas, potato, tomato sauce, water, cumin, salt and bay leaf.
3. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until potatoes are cooked through, about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed. Remove bay leaf and serve hot with dinner rolls or crusty bread.
- The original recipe called for using a chopped, fresh tomato.  We never have fresh tomatoes in the house (oh, skeeve!) so, I subbed in the can of diced tomatoes, drained.  Perfect substitute using an ingredient I always have on hand. 
- The original also suggested serving the dish over rice.  Considering the potatoes in the recipe, I thought this would be far too much starch for one meal.  I served it in large bowls with bread on the side. Yes, bread is a starch and so my first argument makes no sense. Silly me!
- I rarely use scallions and did not wish to buy an entire bunch for just a few so, used the finely diced onion instead.
- It was late July when I prepared this recipe so, spring peas?  Not available.  Hence the frozen.  Works for me!
- Mr. Boom and I both loved this recipe and I'll be making it again.  George, however, tried it and spit it out.  I'm certain it was the cilantro since he happily eats the rest of the ingredients in other meals. 


beating the heat: photo edition

 Water misters...
 kiddie pools...
 lots and lots and LOTS of water...
 and our wonderful, local splash park!
It's not all bad :-)


meal planning + monday + slow cooker = good things

1. Grocery shopping on a (non-holiday) Monday morning is a lovely experience, even with toddler in tow. The stockers are out en force, the produce is all prettily arranged and there are deals to be had. Add to that, the store is generally close to empty of other customers. Joy! Bliss!

2. Menu planning.  It saves time, saves sanity on weeknights and saves money. Having all of the ingredients for a weeks worth of dinners on hand, after just one shopping trip, saves money in time, gas, and eliminates the let's-just-get-take-out last ditch dinner. I shared earlier this month that I had subscribed to E-Mealz to help with this task.  It is working out great!  I usually spend about $100/week on groceries.  In the two weeks I have been using E-Mealz, my total at the checkout has been down to $64-68/week.  Huge savings, guesswork taken out of meals and the headache of sitting down to plan and write a complete list is nearly eliminated. Loving it! I am subscribed to the Any Store Regular Family Meal plan. If you are interested in checking out the plans to see if this could be a solution for your family, click here:
Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!
3. Look for little known deals. At our grocery store, $ off coupons get added to packages of meats on Mondays mornings. The cuts are still fresh but, marked down after the weekend rush to make room for new shipments. I saved $4.00 (in addition to sale prices) last Monday just with these extra deals on meats I was already planning on purchasing from my shopping list.

4. Pay attention to sales + coupon doubling. My store doubles all manufacturer coupons up to 99 cents. I bring all of my coupons along while shopping so that if I run into an in-store special that isn't on my list but, have a coupon, it can make for a great deal. Last week, I had two 75 cent coupons for Minute Maid Enhanced Juice Blends. The item was on sale 2/$6. Using both doubled coupons, I came home with two bottles for $3.00.

5. Keep the catalinas! Catalinas are the coupons that print out at checkout. I buy organic milk for George, which is a significant cost factored into our weekly grocery budget. Almost every time I shop, I get a catalina back for my next organic milk purchase. Today, my store had Stonyfield Farm organic milk on special for $3.19 per half gallon. I used a Catalina for $1.50 off of two half gallons. So, a gallon of milk totalled $4.88. Less than the price of regular milk and great savings on a product that we buy normally.

6. Using a slow cooker in the summer yields great meals, without heating up the house!  I am always on the look out for new and tasty slow cooker meals.  Last weekend, I came across one on Pinterest that looked too simple and yummy not to try. I worked it into our meal plan for the week and made it on Monday.  Delicious and a new favorite discovered.  You can follow the above link to the original recipe and, here is my tweaked version, reflecting chicken I had in our freezer and sneaking in more veggies:
Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
Recipe and photo credit to: Six Sister's Stuff

8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 16 oz. bottle honey bbq sauce (or Hawaiian version, if you can find one)
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
2 bell peppers, any color (I used green and orange) roughly chopped
hot cooked rice

Add chicken to bottom of crockpot.  Pour bottle of bbq sauce over chicken.  Add pineapple and veggies on top.  Cook on HIGH 3 hours or LOW 4-6 hours. When finished cooking, shred chicken with two forks and mix ingredients together.  Serve over hot rice.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with E-Mealz and have received no compensation for this post. Simply a satisfied subscriber passing along information.


you at 19 months...

My sweet George,

It's been four months since I penned your last milestone letter.  You have grown and blossomed so much in that time, we can scarcely keep up!  Everyday now, rather than my baby, I see before me glimpses of the wonderful boy you are becoming. You keep us on your toes with your constant movement much of the time and bring us such joy with your cuddles and hugs during quiet times. Your quick smile and charm delight everyone you meet.

At 19 months you:

- weighed 26.9 pounds and measured 32.5 inches at your 18 months pediatric appointment on July 1st.
- will take us by the hand and lead us when you want to show us something.
- kiss the faces of your favorite trains in the morning, then bring them to Mama to kiss.
- are still climbing on everything - kitchen drawers, couches, chairs, ladders and climbing walls at the playground.  If it is in front of you, you will find a way to climb it.
- still enjoy Sesame Street but, also love Thomas and Friends, Super Why and Word World, all on PBS Kids.
- excitedly point to letters everywhere we go - on signs, license plates, the t.v.  Though we limit television, Super Why (along with lots of reading) is teaching you beginning reading skills by identifying letters. You correctly point to and say "O" whenever you see one.
- point to your mouth when hungry.
- are getting better and better at communicating. You call out "Mama" to get my attention, "more" when you would like more food or to continue an activity, "again" to repeat a favorite book, "ba" when you want milk (usually while standing at the fridge) and "bubble" for us to blow them for you.
- are wearing 18 month clothes and have moved into some 24 month.  You are quickly growing out of your size 6W sneakers, are wearing size 7 sandals and size 2T-3T socks.
- don't sleep well away from home.  You are definitely a toddler of habit when it comes to sleep and only like your own crib.
- love to see trucks and motorcycles pass by when out walking or in the car.
- have started dancing to music and think it is funny when we dance with you.
- are ticklish under your arms and your neck.
- nap once a day, averaging two hours.
- sleep about 10.5 hours a night, from 7:30 pm to 6:00 am.
- eat a LOT of fruit.  Your favorites are apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries and blueberries.
- are still a good eater and will generally eat whatever we are eating.
- have overcome your bath terror and again eagerly run to the bathroom when you hear the water being drawn in the tub.  You have also learned to love the pool and sprinkler park.
- are an excellent traveler.  You have now flown a total of four times (two round trips) to Greece and Buffalo, NY. 
- say, "No, no, no," shake your head and wag your finger when you do not want something.
- point to things you do want and point our fingers at words and pictures in books to follow along.
- have seven teeth, four on top and three on the bottom.
- are very sure on your feet, have excellent balance and body control.
- will take our hand when we ask you to or when you you need help.
- absolutely adore your Thomas trains.  They make up the largest part of your daily play time.
- will get your shoes and stand at the door when you want to go outside saying, "Go baby" or "Go, go, go."
- can dribble a soccer ball.
- like playing chase. A sure fire way to hear your belly laughs.
- are mimicking words more and more.  Last week as you stood in front of the fridge I asked, "Would you like dinner?"  You said back, "Dinn-o."
- can stack 3-4 blocks high but, still prefer knocking them down.
- cling to us for a long, cuddly hug when we come in to your room to say good morning, as if making up for the missed hours while you were sleeping. One of my very favorite times of the day.
Life with you is so incredibly happy.  Though there are trying moments as you begin to assert your independence and use repetition to learn, I am aware just how fleeting this toddlerhood will be and am holding fast to and delighting in every day I am blessed being your parent right now.

I love you to the moon and back, and again,


beating the heat: homemade frozen fruit pops

As in just about every other part of America, is has been hot here.  I'm talking Satan's playground type of heat.  Record breaking temps.  Sweltering humidity.  Horribly hot and unbearable. Got the picture?  We've been trying all sorts of things to keep cool but one in particular has become George's favorite. 

Ice pops.

When he was so sick with the coxackie virus for a few days back in June, I picked up some of those freezer pops in a tube to have on hand.  He wasn't eating or drinking enough and I was about to try anything.  Hating that they were pure sugar water with nasty food dyes, to boot, I was determined for this to be a short term solution and not a habit.  The pure sugar pops were quickly replaced by 100% apple juice pops, frozen in popsicle molds I had picked up on a whim during my last trip to Ikea. Though G doesn't drink juice, an occasional juice pop was an alternative I could live with.

Then, last weekend we took a road trip to visit some friends.  Having a son close to George's age, the mom had a similar pop issue in her house.  She had recently bought a juicer and her solution was to make popsicles for her son out of her juice creations.  Perfect!
We don't have a juicer but, the Magic Bullet?  Works just as well for this. I'm sure a blender would also work fine. The next day, I pulled the bullet out of the cabinet, grabbed a few ingredients and crafted my own batch of frozen fruit pops.  Batch #1 was made with a peeled and diced apple, a handful of frozen organic wild blueberries and a splash of 100% blueberry-pomegranate juice to thin the mix out enough for the bullet to work it's magic.  I emptied the puree into a measuring cup for easier pouring and quickly filled 5 of the 6 molds from one small batch.  Inexpensive, super simple, using on-hand ingredients and all natural.

And the verdict?  Fruit pop love...
Related Posts with Thumbnails