Thursday, August 27, 2009

Easy Preschooler Entertainment

Yesterday I was working on a cross stitch for my soon-to-arrive niece. Nick curled up next to me and was very intent on knowing what I was doing. I told him I was sewing a turtle for Betsy. He asked if he could sew a turtle for Betsy too.

Not wanting to discourage his craftiness, I said sure. Then I had to come up with a turtle for him to sew! This is what I did.:

1. I drew a very simple turtle on a piece of fairly heavy (not-corrugated) cardboard. I cut the edges to shape it a little bit, leaving half an inch or so of space between the picture and the edge.

2. Using my three-hole punch, I made holes every couple of inches all the way around.

3. I gave him a shoelace and the picture and showed him how to push the end through the holes. He's been "sewing" ever since.

I know they sell these types of things (because I've bought them myself) but I'm happier with my homemade one. It's made of sturdier material, it can be made in whatever shape my son fancies at the moment, and when the baby gets a hold of it and gums it to mush I can easily, and cheaply, make another one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bananas for Baby

Yesterday I was looking for a little something more to feed the baby; we're in that stage where we're waiting three or four days between introducing foods, and all I had in jars was new foods. I suddenly remembered some overly ripe bananas I had stashed in the freezer to turn into bread for funerals. And it occurred to me that after they are frozen bananas are smooth and mushy with no effort at all--perfect baby food! Sure enough, Lucas gobbled down half of one in no time.

I'm adding this to my mental list of "duh!" ideas. So much easier, and less wasteful, than trying to squish up fresh bananas with a fork.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Today ended the first "real" family vacation I've taken (as a mom, not a kid). It was not entirely stress-free, but I am definitely more laid back now than I was two weeks ago. So now that we're all back to real life I am making a conscious effort to maintain that vacation state of mind.

I didn't get worked up when Ben's work schedule got changed or when he had to fix lunch because I needed to nurse the baby. I took the kids outside to blow bubbles, even though I hadn't finished the laundry and there were still two pans of cookies to bake.

So pretty good...except for totally losing my cool when I just could not locate Luke's birth certificate. Someday when I'm feeling especially zen I really need to clean out that office closet!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Problem with Good Deals

We eat a lot of sandwiches around here and I've been buying prepackaged deli meat for over a year now. There are several brands that I can always get at the commissary for $1.45 or $1.50 for 9 oz. after coupons. Not a bad price, and some of the meat is pretty good. Plus I get a free container out of the deal.

But on my last shopping trip I used a fantastic coupon I got from Sara Lee for a free product, up to $8.99. So I went to the deli counter and ordered up a pound and a quarter of sliced turkey. Last night DH made a sandwich and raved how good it was. I told him it cost seven dollars a pound and he said..."Worth every penny!"

Sigh...Now I'm going to have to retrain his taste buds for bargain sandwiches.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bubble Bath

Nick loves bubbles. When I wash his hair he wipes the shampoo out of his hair and rubs it on my arms and laughs. He rubs them on his arms and then shows me how to make them go away by dunking his arm in the water. So I thought I'd give him an extra special treat tonight with his first ever bubble bath.

He watched closely as I added the bubble bath under the running water. He listened and heard the fizzing noise as some of the bubbles popped. He almost forgot about dumping his potty into the toilet he was so intent on getting into the tub.

I picked him up and set him on his feet in the warm, sudsy water. He squatted down. He howled. "No bubbles!" he cried. "No bubbles!"

"Honey, you like bubbles. These are just like the ones you get washed with but there's lots of them to play with!"

"No bubbles! Get out." Tears start to well up in his scared little eyes. "Get out!"

So there was no bath tonight. So much for my extra special treat.

When I tucked him into bed he told me "Tomorrow bath. No bubbles." Then he smiled at me, "Silly Mom."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Little Things to Remember

  • Overheard while Nick was "reading" in the other room: "X, A, F, B. Good job!"
  • But maybe it really was a good job, because reading G is for Gecko tonight I'd say Nick got 75% of his letters right. I knew that he knew some letters, but I was more than surprised at some of the ones he identified.
  • Luke has decided he loves his daddy. His face lights up with a big grin when Ben makes faces at him.
  • Nick twines his fingers through my hair when I sing to him before bed. Lately song requests have included the dump truck song, the cement mixer song, and the mac-cheese song.
  • If someone would hold him up, Luke would be perfectly happy to stand on his feet all day long. I'm cleaning off the exersaucer tonight. Tomorrow he'll be 16 weeks old. Already.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beautiful Bouquets

Are there any flowers so sweet as the dandelions picked by a two year old for his mommy? I wished I had a camera with me today to catch a picture of him running around the yard with two bright yellow flowers gripped so hard in his hand that the stems were broken and the heads dangling toward the ground. And he still held them up to show me, proud as can be, as he announced, "Picked flowers!"

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Last week I made my first all-out, fill-up-the-cart grocery shopping trip with both boys. (How did I manage so long? I guess there are advantages to Ben being on 2nd shift.)

By halfway through the store Luke was hollering. I started just grabbing what I knew I needed and if someone else was in the way, well, that item could wait for the next shopping trip.

Since it was almost noon and I had no time to fix lunch, I picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way to check out.

The scan label on the chicken got stuck to my coupons. Got it off the coupons and stuck it to the handle of the cart so it would be handy to have the cashier scan.

With Luke in the sling, I tried to unload the cart. This was no easy task and the crying got louder.

The cashier came around to finish unloading the bottom of my cart for me. She chatted about having kids of her own and knowing how it was when they didn't cooperate with errands.

She dug the off chicken bar code, which had sealed itself completely to the handle of the shopping cart.

She was friendly while scanning my many coupons.

She waited patiently as I put my change away and dug out a tip for the bagger.

And she empathized when half the contents of my wallet then fell on the floor.

I realized on the way home that while she was being extra patient and friendly, I was so caught up in everything that was going wrong I hardly even answered her. I wanted to call the store and compliment her, but I hadn't bothered to look at her name tag.

So, thank you cashier at the commissary, for not making me feel worse for going through your line utterly disorganized with a screaming baby, but for actually making me feel better.

And thank you also to Nick, for sitting quietly while Mommy dashed around the store, bouncing Luke, and ignoring you.

Baby Noises

Luke is over three months old and still sleeping in our bedroom. And Ben hasn't even complained about it yet. So the question is...why is he still in our bedroom?

I think it's the noises. Those beautiful sighs and moans and squeaks that come out when he sleeps. I love those noises. Already they have changed from his newborn sounds (I'm tearing up, just thinking about that). They are the noises of a little boy who is totally safe and secure and at peace and I love to be reminded of that.

New noises have started. He laughs at Nick and me when we get him ready for his bath. Another beautiful sound. I can't wait for Ben to hear it.

And now I can hear him crying from the kitchen. Not so pleasant to hear, but the kid's got a good comic sense of timing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quiet Time

I spent half an hour sitting at the kitchen table with my son. Why? I gave him a shoelace and a couple handfuls of rigatoni, intending for him to string them together. Well, he wasn't real keen on that, but lining up the noodles, trying to stack the noodles, and counting the noodles all were great fun. And the best part was that since the baby fell asleep in my lap after nursing, I didn't even feel bad for just sitting there with him while ignoring the dirty dishes and not fixing dinner.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just a Day at the Park

We put aside the basement project for the day on Saturday and instead walked the few blocks to the park. I made sandwiches and threw some snacks in the backpack so we could sit by the pond and have a picnic. Nick thought this was pretty cool (it was his first picnic since he could eat real food) although he ate a total of about three bites. After we ate we put Luke in the stroller and played a few holes of frisbee golf. Nick would ahead run and pick up our discs for us. When we all got worn out we loaded Nick back into the stroller, Luke into the sling and headed for home.

It was the best afternoon I've spent since Luke arrived. I've missed doing things just as a family, just because they're enjoyable, not because they need to be done. It didn't require any planning or travel time. The hardest part of the day was finding the discs in the basement. I think I liked it for the simplicity of it.