Friday, January 28, 2011

A Snowy Afternoon

Sometimes people ask me what Captain Adorable and I do at home together all day. I find this question difficult to answer. We do so many things! We read books, do puzzles, play games, play with toys, sing, dance, talk, cook, make art, practice letters, and watch tv. Sometimes we go places togehter. I enjoy his company and I love to spend time with him, every minute of everyday--from waking to his sweet face as he climbs in bed with me at some time of the night or morning, to helping him get dressed, eating breakfast together, and embarking on our day's adventures (even if those adventures take place inside our house).

Here are pics of some of what we did yesterday. Looking back it does not seem like all that much, but spending time together peacefully is perfect fun.

Playing with his knights and castle. Some dinosaurs and dragons were involved also.

He suggested we make a collage. I found some cool origami paper I've had packed up for a while. He sure enjoys cutting but wants me to help too, so I oblige with shapes he is not yet dexterous enough to create.

We pulled a fresh bread out of the oven and had lunch.

Time for glueing.

I mixed some water with the glue to make it possible to apply it with a brush.

A look outside at the snow.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is eating the knights!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Letters In The Tub

Background: For a long time now (maybe 2 years) we've had a set of letters for the bathtub. Foam letters that stick to the tiles when they are wet. When he was learning the alphabet they were wonderful! However, Capt. Adorable had so many bathtub toys that they became an inconvenience more than anything else, partly because the boy himself insisted on having Every Single Toy In The Tub for every bath. I finally put away most of the toys when we moved into this house about a year ago, the foam letters included. However, somehow or another he found the toys and convinced Oma to let him have them all during his baths while she is here. When she leaves I let him choose 10 (I know, I limit him so!) and those are the only ones till she comes the next time.

So, since he's been showing so much interest in writing and putting together words lately, this last time that Oma left I allowed him to keep all the letters and numbers (somehow or another a few are missing). Tonight when he was in the bath he asked me to help him put words together. Of course I said yes and the first one he wanted help with was his own name. :) Then we went through the names of some classmates, then Daddy's name, then my name, then Oma and then Opa. After that the boats were more interesting. But I managed to get a pic for you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Letters and Cars

Over the last few days, with some encouragement and coaching from both parents, Captain Adorable has begun to write letters on the chalkboard. We are gently encouraging him to write a few letters each day. Most letters he initiates and writes on his own, but some he traces over the example letter written by the parent. This is so much fun! I really enjoy doing this with him! Also, just yesterday(at our friends' house) he watched a television show called Word World which is designed just for kids on the cusp of reading and it was a big hit. Well, I guess if he's going to watch tv it is good to at least watch something educational.

Also, starting this morning, he has discovered that the hallway in our house is perfect for playing with cars. It has a laminate floor, so cars slide across it with ease. We each sit and one end of the hall and just zoom them at each other over and over. I think we've played this game for a total of about 2 hours today! At one point he had to take a bathroom break and he requested that I continue "shooting" the cars so that he could hear "that beautiful sound" while he was busy in the bathroom! I am pretty sure we will be doing this a lot for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ice Drill!

Today was beautiful--almost 50! Almost all the ice and snow has melted and gone. After our usual schedule of getting up and dressed and downstairs, we ate breakfast and then took the bread dough we made (well, really that Capt. Adorable made) yesterday and set to rise overnight out of the bowl and gave it another little nap. While the dough napped for another two hours, we read books (The Cat In The Hat, Horton Hears A Who, Gai See or What You Can See in Chinatown, and The art book for children Book two), played hide and seek (he hid really, really well!), and put together puzzles. Finally it was time to put the dough in the oven. When it came out at last we listened to the crackling noises it made while it cooled enough to cut and eat. And then we ate it. YUM!

After lunch we went out. First to the big playground, then to the marina. At the marina we discovered a whole group of firefighters doing an ice rescue drill. About 5-6 fire trucks/rescue vehicles and all sorts of fire fighters! We got to see two late comers don the dry suits and get in the water (which had ice, despite the warm sun!). Lots of fun. They say they'll be back tomorrow. I suppose we will go watch again tomorrow. :)

Once they left, we climbed on the rocks to check out the water and the ice more closely.

After a couple of hours rambling around in the warm sun, we came home. Captain Adorable was not ready to stop playing and had some independent fun in his play room.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quotes from an Ice Day

Oma and Opa went home yesterday after a short visit to attend Captain Adorable's birthday party. He was, as usual, sad to see them go, but the fact that Daddy had the day off helped to soften the blow quite a bit. Today he was excited to go to school, but last night we had a bunch of ice/sleet and school was canceled. He was really disappointed. Before breakfast he said, "Mommy I wish my school was open," and later he mentioned that we should go to Oma's house and "stay for 50 years." It was pretty obvious he was missing his school friends and his Oma. It was a lot of work to entertain him today, especially since I was feeling tired also.

He made some pretty funny jokes today too. For instance, after eating breakfast, he wanted me to pick him up and let him sit on my lap but I was still eating my yogurt and did not want a boy on my lap. He was kind of hugging me and rubbing his head on me/head butting me. Specifically my boob. He sort of patted me on the boob and said, "that's a blow fish!" I laughed and so did he. When I was planning what to cook for dinner I asked what he'd like and he told me he wanted to have "fat bees and fat cheese!" Later on I farted (yes, I fart sometimes, just like everyone else) and he asked me if I was a walrus who had eaten too many clams (quoting a scene from the documentary movie Arctic Tale) while laughing loudly and then suggested that he put his ear up to my butt so that I could fart in his ear and it would be "so loud!" I guess bodily humor never loses its appeal! At least we had something to laugh at this cold cold icy day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bad Words

Background: recently we checked The Gas We Pass Or The Story of Farts out of the library. Captain Adorable loves this book and requests that I read it to him often. In fact he asked me to read it on his birthday while his great-grandma was here. She covered her mouth and laughed during the entire book. Capt. Adorable Observed this closely and has brought it up a couple of times since then.

This evening we were on our way back from a story time event at his school and we were talking about Oma and Opa's arrival tomorrow. He said he was looking forward to reading Walter The Farting Dog with them. I said they might also enjoy The Gas We Pass and he responded that he hoped Oma would not put her hand over her mouth the whole time like last time. I reminded him that that was his great-grandma, not Oma! He wanted to know why great-grandma covered her mouth, so I attempted to explain. I said she probably thought it was funny, and maybe she thought it was funny because when she was young, 'fart' was a bad word. He asked what was a bad word (a term he had never heard before) and I explained that some words are considered bad because they are rude. He asked me to tell him some bad words. In my head I ran through the list: the f-word, the s-word, the b-word, the n-word, words that maybe aren't bad words, like queer and fag but not words I'd ever want my darling to say, and aloud I laughed and said no!

I thought as quickly as I could and headed off his next 'why' by telling him that words have the power you give them. If you use a word to hurt people then it is a rude word, a bad word. He wanted to know like what, so I said that some times people who wear glasses get made fun of. Others might call them four-eyes or blind or bat or mole. We know that 'bat' and 'mole' are not bad words, but when used in that way, used to hurt, they are rude and therefore they are bad words. When you use a word as a weapon, it becomes a bad word (like the n-word or queer or fag or bitch or so many others). He said he understood.

I explained that sometimes a word can be a bad word because it is too private. Some people consider the word penis to be a bad word. Like so many other times I said that his penis is only for him, for no one else to see or touch. Because the penis is private some people do not even like to say the word because saying it brings them too close. I asked if he knew what I meant and he said yes. I explained that people have made up lots of other names to call a penis because they don't want to say 'penis' and I told him a few of those (he thought the idea of calling a penis 'cock,' like rooster, was quite silly!). I suggested he ask Daddy if he wanted to hear more.

Then we talked about how some words have more than one meaning and that words are fun. I declared, "I love words...maybe that is why I talk so much," and was rewarded with, "maybe you should not love words and maybe you should not talk so much, Mama." I laughed, said ok and was silent for the rest of the drive home (which was, fortunately, only about 1/4 of a mile).

Once we got home we sat together in our fabulous glider and I read the latest issue of Ladybug to him. Then it was bedtime.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Ever since Capt. Adorable's birthday, when I made him pancakes for breakfast, he's been asking for them on a daily basis. Today we made them again. I say "we" and I mean it. He helps a lot! I measure the ingredients, but he puts them in the bowl and combines them. OK, I stir together the wet and dry but he stirs the dry first and the combo after (plus this morning I needed to add a little extra buttermilk and he stirred in the extra like a pro).

He helps during the cooking, too. Today (we had pancakes for lunch) he was in charge of adding the blackberries (his choice--I prefer blueberries) to the pancakes in the pan.

However, we noticed that the blackberries were too big, so I proposed we cut them. I gave him a knife (yes, I gave my 4 year old a knife, gasp) and he cut them in half. I guess all those times I've let him chop up cloves of garlic and slice olives to keep him busy while I am cooking have indeed paid off.

Once the blackberries were cut, they cooked up nicely and tasted delicious! Here's a pic showing the cut blackberry in the pancake.

After all the pancakes were cooked he asked that we save the rest of the blackberries for when Oma and Opa get here (they're coming on Friday).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week of Winter Activities

It snowed and sleeted today. I think it has gone back to snow as I type. I've heard the plow on the street already this evening but doubt there will really be much. We've done a lot of indoor activities over the last few weeks, and certainly over the last few days.
Checking out a science kit. Loved using the pipette.

This afternoon Captain Adorable and I rode bikes down to the marina to look at the water. I thought it might help to get him to watch less tv (we're creeping up to 1.5 hours per day again...) and a little outside time for us both. :) It was cold! The creek we live on was frozen, except for the places under the docks that are kept clear of ice by blubblers. Captain Adorable experimented by throwing various things (sycamore balls and gravel) onto the ice from various heights. We finally got a big stick to poke it with. We hid the stick on the way back so we can find it again next time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Photos From A Winter Beach

We went to Ocean City between Christmas and New Year's. It was peaceful and fun. Here are a few photos of a wintery beach with Captain Adorable and me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Holiday Mood

During this holiday season I have indulged in waaaaaaay more treats than usual. I find myself tired and stressed. I sleep less and I complain more. In general I feel less happy lately. I have a few friends who are feeling the same thing. This is ridiculous and I think it is about time to get back into vegetables and out of sugar and fat and carbs. I haven't gone for a walk to see the water is a long time. Time to Buck UP, Baby!

My New Year's Resolution is to get more involved with my neighborhood. Last year was to stop buying canned beans and although I'd not been perfect, I have, for the most part, kept the resolution and changed a habit. I learned how to cook beans from dry; they do indeed taste better. I hope that I can be as successful in my resolution this year. :)

Now I have to decide if I can make a dinosaur cake for Captain Adorable's birthday party. Keep in mind I am a good cook and definitely able to follow a recipe, but I am not a cake baker. Nor am I a cake decorator. Pinching the dough on a pie crust is about as fancy as I get. And also, he wants a meat- eating dinosaur cake (preferably a T. rex), not a plant-eater cake, which is what they make in the video I found). I wonder if I should make it a many practice cakes will this require...or if I should just give in and buy one.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Four Years Old

My little darling turned four today. He had a wonderful day and so did I. Readers of this blog may remember that the birthday celebrations last year were quite spartan. This year was pretty much the opposite--he's being feted at every turn!

This morning at about 6:20 he got in bed with Captain Obvious and me. Usually when he gets in bed with us in the morning he goes back to sleep. This morning he did not. He twisted and turned till I started talking to him about the fact that it was his birthday. He interrupted, "But this is not my real birthday." He had gotten confused between the actual birthday and the birthday party. I explained and he asked, 'But when I will be four?" and was overjoyed when I told him, "You are already four!" He was very happy about that idea and asked lots of questions, even how to spell four (with letters, not numbers). Then we sang Happy Birthday, all of us cuddled in bed together.

Captain Obvious' alarm clock went off at 6:45 and we all got up. (In the evening I realised that Captain Adorable and I were each wearing a purplish tee-shirt beneath a green long sleeved shirt on top. Funny how the two of us dress alike more often than one might think...) I was happy that we had plenty of time before we had to leave for school because I had promised to make pancakes for breakfast. We made pancakes and relaxed till it was time to leave. He got a call from Oma and Opa, who sang him Happy Birthday. When it was time to leave, he made sure I did not forget the mini-cupcakes (as if!) we were bringing as the class' birthday treat. He had a wonderful day at school (he is now the only 4 year old in his class). He got to wear a birthday hat and sit in a birthday chair. I'm sure they sang him Happy Birthday again over the cupcakes. He brought home a gift (a book he chose from the birthday basket) and will soon bring home another gift that his classmates made for him in school (a wooden airplane, which he also picked) which still had to dry (paint and glue).

We came home for lunch (which he ate while I madly cleaned the house) and then my sweet-MIL came over to bring her birthday presents for him. She and her mother (Captain Adorable's only living great-grandparent) sang him Happy Birthday. It was lovely to see her (she has recently finished chemo and has just received a PET result saying that she is NED) happy and relaxed. I was able to finally give her the Christmas presents for her and her family and also give away the rugelach and sugar cookies I made for her (quite relieved to have that temptation out of my house).

As soon as she left, Captain Adorable wanted to explore the dinosaur science kit she gave him. It was lots of fun, smashing plaster together to find the "fossilized bones" hidden inside. Finally I had to start dinner (Spinach-Broccoli Ricotta Pie) so I let him watch Bill Nye The Science Guy while I cooked. When Captain Obvious got home we started opening presents. The birthday boy was quite pleased with the mythical creatures (dragon, chimera, pegasus) from Oma and Opa and stopped to play with them for quite a while. Then he opened a chef costume from mama and daddy, which he immediate donned and cooked us a full meal with dessert. Then there was the box of dinosaurs and the marble track from Grandpa and Lita. It was all I could do to drag the captains away from that marble track to eat dinner!

Dinner was the aforementioned savory pie and some grilled sausages. Both requested by the birthday boy of course. And for dessert we had a hot chocolate cake. We lit the candles and sang him Happy Birthday. He had a hard time blowing them out at first, then got them to go out one at a time. I reminded him to make a wish and he told me he had already made a wish: to eat cake! Then he blew out the last candle. OMG it was delicious.

Once the sugar high wore off, I read him two of his new books (from The Little Red Train series by Benedict Blathwayt, imported from England) and took him up to bed. Getting him to allow me to floss and brush his teeth took a little convincing but not too much. Then I got in bed with him and read another book (about the water cycle, I know, weird, but his choice!). Then he curled up with his head on my arm and his body against mine and we talked about all the things we have to do together (everything from going to New York City to look at the skyscrapers to setting off fireworks in Tennessee). I sang him the lullaby I always sing (a Dutch one that my mama sang to me) and he was sound asleep by the third repetition (usually I do five repetitions). I lay in his bed, holding him and listening to him breathe.

How similar his first night was to this one, four years later. Both times he fell asleep in the arms of his devoted mother. I am so lucky to be a mother. I love you, baby-who-is-not-a-baby. Can we please make this year a long one?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Eve

We had my friend Steady Hands, her husband, her daughter, and her parents over for dinner and to celebrate New Year's Eve. Captain Obvious made brisket and lamb on the grill. I made a romaine salad with carrots, red onion, and feta; roasted golden potatoes and butternut squash with sage, and garlic-cumin wilted spinach. (I had tofurky for protein in case you are interested.) My friend brought a delicious fresh baked bread and flourless chocolate cake. We served the cake with pecan-honey ice cream that Captain Obvious made the night before. Quite a delicious feast! We used the dishes and silver my grandma gave me for my wedding, so we had the proper plates and cutlery for everything and I got to have a few moments of remembering my grandma while using these things that remind me so much of her.
The table just before dinner began.
We stayed up far too late (though really didn't drink much) and had a great time ringing in the new year. I hope your celebrations were as perfect for you as this one was for us. Happy 2011 Everyone! May the New Year bring us all good health, love, peace, and joy.