Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Like a dream

When Moo woke up at 5:00 a.m., I was convinced it was a bad omen for our family vacation to the beach--just the three of us. And when we got 45 minutes down the road and I realized I had forgotten my bathing suit, Moo's bathing suit, and my toothbrush, I was definitely feeling pessimistic.

I was all wrong.
Those were about the only bad things that happened on our trip.
The rest was like a dream. Really.

Moo was an angel in the car. Not one bit of fussing on our way there.

Stopped at a middle-of-nowhere gas station Subway for lunch and realized that it was by a state park that sat on a lake. Lovely. And spontaneous. We're never spontaneous, so that was extra wonderful.

While on vacation,
  • Moo learned to clap
  • We rented bikes for a day and rode to dinner, which we ate outside during sunset, and then rode back
  • Moo loved the sand and water. He crawled all around the sand and kicked his feet in the water. He even let us put a little hat on him.
  • Phil and I gave each other 45 minutes "off" each day to do whatever we wanted, so one day I took my journal and Nook out to the beach and another day I went for a jog. (Note to self: if you haven't been running in months and you decide you can totally crank out a 25-minute jog, beware: you WILL be sore by nightfall.)
  • We watched two movies: We Bought a Zoo and October Baby. Both good in their own way. Mostly, it was nice just to have time to watch a movie together.
  • Not sure about the helmet at first
  • The weather was perfect--low 60's to mid-80's. 
After a month where Phil was gone so much that I felt like a single mom and Moo thought "phone" and "daddy" were the same thing, it was good to reconnect, necessary to reconnect. It brought us such JOY to be together, unconnected from other responsibilities and people, and we left with sweet memories, ten videos, and about a hundred pictures. 

Some people dread family vacations, but we loved this one. And I hope that never changes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Moo update: 11 months

Let's just be cliche and say that I can't believe how time has flown, can't believe how big he's gotten, can't believe my baby is about to be one.

Okay, that's out of the way. Sometimes, you just gotta muck it up with the mainstream and get your cliche on.


This boy LOVES, LOVES, LOVES wheels. Dishwasher rack wheels, vacuum cleaner wheels, stroller wheels (especially stroller wheels), truck wheels, steering wheels. Wheels, wheels, wheels. Phil took Moo to the zoo the other day and he sat on the concrete and played with his stroller wheels for 30 minutes. Serious concentration. (And don't judge: I know stroller wheels are disgusting, but I have to choose my battles, and that's nothing a good hand washing won't fix. Besides, I'm all about building that immune system.)

He's also really into imitating sounds like sirens and animal sounds (sheep, horse, rhino, elephant, cat, lion, and dog).

He still loves animals and I still don't, so we make friends with people who have dogs and visit the zoo a lot. When we're at my parents', I suck it up and let the six cats and two dogs lick all over us and cover us with their hair. He has no idea how much that is an act of love for me. :) And he's still pretty smitten with his favorite stuffed animals, Raffe and Cola, and gives them lots of snuggles all day long.

Buttons that make something move or make noise are definitely in. He loves to push them and then look at us for affirmation. Precious.

Finally, he loves the outdoors. This boy would live outside if I let him. He usually cries when I take him back inside. It may be a loooong winter, folks.

He's also into being shirtless.
As for personality, he's definitely an extravert. He tends to be shy when first meeting someone, but then warms up and wants to interact and play games like peekaboo or chase. He's happy most of the time (except when he gets his diaper changed--cries every time), although he's very attached to me right now. He's affectionate with those he knows, giving kisses and snuggles frequently. He's extremely curious. I call him my little "engineer" because he's constantly trying to figure out how things work, turning toys over to look at the on/off switch, locking and unlocking doors, turning on and off light switches, and exploring every nook of everywhere. He's also persistent. When he wants something, he works at it and works at it (or works on me and works on me until I give in). He's very playful and silly, loving to dance, laugh, and play games, and he's very observant, noticing every sound or change in his world.

Our hearts are full! So much love for our little Moo. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Phil's been working 14-hour days this week, which means he doesn't really see Moo for four days straight and that he and I only have a few minutes together once we eat dinner, clean the kitchen, and shower. Glad this isn't normal like it is for a lot of families out there. That being said, I need some Saturday afternoon plans since Phil will be working and the days are loooong without that "Daddy's coming home" time. Anyone in Bham looking for something to do?

Apparently, I still look young for my age. I'll take it. In one day I was asked if I was a student by a lady at CVS and later was told, "Thanks, girl" by the guy who changed my oil. I really, really wanted to say "No prob, bro," but decided against it. Either I look young or I come across as naive. I'll go with the former.

Moo drinks milk only from bottles now, but I think I might maybe kind of be ready to move him toward using only sippy cups. I mean, not having to wash bottles every day would probably increase my happiness at least two-fold. So, my question is, what's your advice for how to switch from bottles to sippy cups? He drinks from a sippy cup now, but only water, and he probably only drinks 3 or 4 oz. of water a day, in addition to the 24 or so oz. of milk he's drinking with a bottle. My big fear is that he won't drink nearly the amount of milk he's drinking now, and that's important to me. I think I'm looking for some sure-fire, magic solution that doesn't exist (and I really don't want to go through several "I'm-thirsty-but-I-only-want-a-bottle" days), but I welcome your advice!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Disarray, rest, and the one-sentence journal

Moo and I just got back from being out of town for a week, and between the unpacking and the lunch-making and bottle-washing and the rediscovery of all our toys and the explosion of mail that happens when you return from a trip, my house looks a little scary. Looked. It's getting there.

Tonight isn't for straightening, though. It's for lighting a pear candle and opening windows of crisp air and thunder with rain. It's for hot green tea and feet up and a freshly washed face. 

It's for Silence. Stillness. Solitude. The combination I lack and long for most. It's where my good thinking happens.

I've been thinking a lot about my little writing resolution moment this summer to write regularly. I know words like "little" and "moment" make my resolution sound trivial, but that's sort of my point. It feels like it was just a fling. A little affair with writing that's lost its luster and its consistency and has just petered out. 


I know I'm a writer. I also know that my resolution to write every day and read books on writing just isn't quite realistic at this point in my life, at least not the way I envisioned it. So, I'm rethinking things. How can I write regularly? How can I make that happen? 

I've been reading more magazines than books the past couple of weeks--partly because I'm in between books and am not sure what to read next (any nonfiction recommendations out there?) and partly because it feels good to finish something in one sitting, like an article. Anyway, I read an article recently about keeping a one-sentence journal, writing one sentence about each day (more if you'd like). That didn't sound too daunting to me. One sentence a day. There's a new journal by my bed just waiting to be broken in, and this might be how I'm supposed to do that. It's been sitting there for weeks because I'm intimidated by all the white space. So, that's the next step for me.

You writers out there, what do you do to make writing happen?  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Killer salsa

Tastebuds, prepare yourselves! This recipe is actually only part of a Cooking Light recipe for Chicken Tostadas (see picture), but since I had extra ingredients, I ended up using the salsa alone with chips and it was absolutely delicious (and easy). Fresh, chunky, and flavorful, this salsa is one I'll make again and again.

Avocado Salsa
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I substituted the same amount of lemon juice from the bottle since that's what I had on hand and it tasted fine)
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup pre-chopped tomato (I chopped my own since I had several whole tomatoes on hand)
1/2 cup pre-chopped white onion (I substituted 2 Tbsp chopped red onion, which made up for the flavor lost in not including cilantro)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (I omitted because I didn't have any on hand)
1 avocado, peeled and diced

Combine first five ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add tomato, onion, cilantro, and avocado. Toss gently to coat. Serve with chips.

Want to make the whole meal? It only takes a few more ingredients (chicken, black beans, lettuce, tortillas, cheese). Easy weeknight meal with a beautiful presentation and a crunchy-fresh flavor. Definitely recommend it.