Monday, January 21, 2008

I had my first post-college girls' night out on Saturday night with two of my Mary Kay customers (who have turned into friends), while both of their husbands are in Brazil for a week. We went to The Mad Potter (which is a paint-your-own-pottery place), then to dinner at Cheddar's, and then back to one lady's house for games (Fluxx and Paired Up — both new to me and FUN). The pottery thing was awesome! We were there for almost four hours, but the time just flew by. Now we're all addicted. It'd be great for family bonding, because all you do is sit there and chat while you paint. It was actually Family Fun Night while we were there, and they had free pizza and played Christian radio. One friend painted a Post-It holder and a water bowl for her cats, the other friend made a serving platter with some 3-D flowers on it, and I decorated a surprise TBA in the future. We get to pick them up in 5-7 days after they're glazed and fired. I highly recommend going. I didn't get home from "girls' night" until 1:15 in the morning! It was such a blast.

trying on mommy's shoes (look at those eyebrows!)

In the spirit of sharing "cheese" faces, here's Caspian's fake smile. I call this his "anime face" because his eyes look like little half moons.

Caspian started repeating "uh oh" this afternoon. He also has a new fascination with babies. He keeps signing and saying "baby" over and over...and watch out if he actually sees a baby! Much to my chagrin, he was so fascinated by the Teletubbies that I didn't turn it off. He is sooo the target audience (plus they look like babies)! When I checked on him between washing and rinsing dishes, he was sitting on a "seat" that he'd created for himself out of his activity cube and the arm of the couch.

He did "up" and "down" with the Teletubbies (with his body and arms) and tried to help in the sequence where one Teletubby was looking for another Teletubby. Dipsy would say, "Where's Po?" and Po would pop up in the background, giggling and waving, and Caspian would point frantically, trying to help! Then Po would duck back down before Dipsy could see her, and Caspian would shrug his "all gone" sign.

I made one of my mom's staple recipes the other night for dinner, which went really well with a modified version of Rachael Ray's green beans. Both fit the category of "quick, cheap, and easy" — requirements if I'm cooking something! The chicken recipe is great because all you do is mix everything, dump it in a pan, and forget about it. Not only do you not have to monitor it, you're actually not supposed to uncover it until it's done. It's nice just to have to open the oven when you're ready for dinner — like using a crock pot (only this requires less notice to prepare).
No-Peek Chicken
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can water1 box Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain & Wild Rice (not instant)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 envelope Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
*If you want to feed more people or just enjoy having plenty of side dish, double everything except the chicken and the Onion Soup Mix.
1. Combine Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom, and water and mix until smooth.
2. Add Rice and seasoning packet (included in Rice box) and blend well.
3. Pour mixture into 9x13 pan and arrange chicken thighs in a single layer covering the top.
4. Sprinkle Onion Soup Mix over chicken.
5. Cover pan with foil and bake at 300 for 2½ hours. It will stay warm for quite a while out of the oven as long as it stays covered in foil. Do not lift the foil until serving time.
Oven Roasted Green Beans
1½ pounds raw string beans, trimmed
olive oil
salt & pepper
1. Place beans in a gallon ziplock, along with a liberal dousing of olive oil.
2. Shake until beans are well-coated.
3. Arrange beans in one layer on a cookie sheet (I used a PC stone) and season well.
4. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes, then shake pan (or turn over beans). Bake for 7-10 more minutes (longer on a stone), or until beans are at desired tenderness. Season again during cooking if needed (eat a test bean to check for tenderness and seasoning). Beans will caramelize (in dark patches) and turn shriveled...but they taste really good.

Friday, January 18, 2008

new favorite photo:

(Think his pinky's missing? It's curved into my eye socket!)

Add Caspian to the new tooth club! I don't know which is which , but he's got all eight front (top and bottom), plus two more on his left and a new one just poking through on the bottom right.

In order for me to get dishes done sometimes, Caspian has to help. During one recent session, he occupied himself by turning the toaster on and off (Fin supervised). When I realized it was going to get too hot to touch if he left it on for a while, I told him so; now he says/signs "hot" when he sees it.

Charlie's sister is the administrative assistant for the director of food services at Asbury, so Charlie, Caspian, and I have lunch with her once a week in the cafeteria. Whenever we go, it overlaps the beginning of Caspian's nap time. He gets so worked up around all those college students (not to mention his "girlfriends"=the kitchen staff) that he usually conks out as soon as we get home. Yesterday he fell asleep after only BFing on one side — and he slept for 3½ hours! It was crazy. When Charlie came home from work, he was still asleep.

This afternoon when we were cuddling on the couch, he reached up and placed his hands on either side of my face. I could've stayed like that forever. My precious little man!

enjoying a sandwich, courtesy of Daddy

He's also started being more definite about what he wants. When I was reluctant to get up one morning, he wrapped his arms around my arm and tried to pull me up! Even better: when he's stitting on my lap and I have my arm around him, he'll push and pull and reposition my arms until they're where he wants them to be, then hold my arms in place. Sigh.

One of our regular games is car chase (when Caspian wants to play, he makes a car noise). He has two soft Tonka cars whose wheels move, and his buddy, Toby, straddles one pretty well. I'll take Toby, sit him on a car, and chase Caspian in a circle around and around where I'm sitting on the floor. Sometimes Caspian laps Toby, so Toby has to turn around and "run away" in the other direction.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Whenever Caspian sees flowers now, he sniffs — even from far away! When we were in Michael's last night, he just went crazy around all those artificial flowers everywhere.

I was too lazy to put on both our coats just to get the mail the other day, so I just wrapped us up in a sweater together. Caspian liked looking at us in the camera's viewfinder.

I have officially started crocheting, in order that someday I might make Caspian some custom wool longies. I bought the Klutz crochet book, since it seemed the least intimidating. Of course, I also bought five or six wool sweaters from Goodwill to "recycle" but haven't gotten up the nerve to cut them apart yet...primarily because we don't have a pair of longies that fit him the way I want that we can use as a pattern. His Babyology wool tends to pouch in front and back, like this:

YAY! We get to take a family vacation to Atlanta in April, and Charlie just found out that we get to go to New Orleans beforehand! He's going to a professional conference for the few days before our Atlanta trip, so Caspian and I are going to go with him and hang out at the hotel instead of having him fly back and forth right before our trip. I'm too scared to take Caspian around by myself during the conference days, but we should really enjoy a little time to see the sights in the evenings.

Some friends and I were discussing "loveys" that their kids have to have for bedtime. I'm pretty sure that Charlie is Caspian's lovey. Unless he's super tired or falls asleep BFing before bed, he will not go to sleep until Charlie gets in bed with us.

Caspian just started saying "Eeyore." My mom has a cup with Eeyore, Pooh, and Tigger on it, and he just fixated on Eeyore for some reason. It's so exciting to hear him try to say real words! "Boat" is another new one. He also impressed me yesterday with his mental vocabulary. He got out his Happy Baby ABCs book and I'd ask him where the ___ was (frog, leaf, vacuum cleaner, tomato, etc.)...and he'd flip right to it and point! Vacuum cleaner is always "brrrr" (although I don't know how he'd know, since we never do it). He even seemed to know immediately whether the item I asked about was in the front or back of the book and went forward or backward from the page we were on, without hesitation!

We're pretty sure Caspian had a growth spurt this week. I swear he was taller when he woke up on Sunday than when he went to bed.

This is how I woke up on Tuesday. Without sitting up, I could only see that his right foot was on top of me. I decided to lift his foot off by picking up his pants leg, but I was so groggy, I kept fumbling at his cuff and wondering why it was scalloped...turns out it was the toes of his left foot!

Caspian had a bad nightmare on Tuesday night. He woke up sobbing so hard and wouldn't stop no matter what. When he latched on, he'd calm down just fine until he drifted back off to sleep — at which point he'd start crying again. I've had that kind of nightmare that wakes you up in horror, but when you finally fall asleep again it picks right back up where you left off. I tried rocking him, holding him, talking to him, praying over him...finally we had to go in and change his diaper to get him to wake up fully and break the cycle. I think his nightmare had something to do with the kitchen, because all he wanted to do after he woke up was take us in there and show us certain things before going back to bed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Caspian started signing "baby" today. At first I thought he was talking about my wrist brace (since he was stroking his forearm), but then he was consitently grasping one arm with the other and swinging them back and forth, which is the sign for "baby."

This is from one of those e-mails. Some of these are dorky or sappy, but a few of them are worth mulling over...

Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you
can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested.
1 Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
2 Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
3 Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
4 Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
5 If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
6 If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
7 It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
8 Never buy a car you can't push.
9 Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
10 Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
11 Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
12 The second mouse gets the cheese.
13 When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
14 Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
15 You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
16 Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
17 We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
18 A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's seriously funny how we try to get Caspian to do/say his newest trick/word over and over (and of course he stops doing it as soon as we get the camera)...yet it gets really tedious when he asks us to read the same board book 87 times in a row. LOL

I would love to night wean Caspian. He doesn't nurse every night, but it feels like most nights, KWIM? The problem is, when he sits up in bed and signs for "boo," nothing will put him back to sleep except nursing; not rocking, not cuddling, not paci...

Caspian has slept through lunch for two days now, and when he wakes up, he has no interest in eating — just playing. Most of the time when he's hungry, he signs "food", but it didn't happen (and I asked several times, even taking him in to his chair in the kitchen). Although he did repeat "banana," "apple," and "egg" over and over after waking up this morning (even though he wanted cereal for breakfast ).

They featured these clear, customizable drawer dividers on Martha Stewart today. How neat are those? I would L-O-V-E to get some for my inventory drawers...

Caspian's newest pleasure is climbing up onto a kitchen chair. It has one rung at the bottom, which is enough to boost him up so his knee can reach the seat. He feels like such a big man up on that grown-up chair!

I started a Beauty Blog, if you need one more thing to do online. :) Feel free to post comments and questions!

Major (bad) adrenaline rush tonight. We were taking turns playing Wii (so the other could watch Caspian), and it was my turn to bowl. I took a step back to start my swing — and I ran into and literally stepped on my own son because Charlie had let him walk right up behind me! It was really scary, because I had lost my balance from knocking him down while perched on one leg, and I had to choose between stepping on him and falling down on top of him. Not good choices! I flailed vainly, twisting to find purchase on bare floor instead of Caspian-covered floor. I ended up not falling, but he was knocked flat on his back, and I stepped (lightly) on him twice. He was sobbing (more out of extreme shock than injury) and I was furious. Grrr...

Caspian has been scratching at his tushy cheek for weeks now. We put hydrocortisone on it, but his little fingers reach straight for it whenever his diaper comes off. It's hard to tell what is scratch marks and what is rash/whatever. It fluctuates between nothing and this:

Any clue what it is? Sorry about the fuzzy picture. It's hard to get a clear close-up of a squirmy toddler's behind when you are the one holding said toddler...

76% Tom Tancredo
73% Mike Huckabee
68% Ron Paul
65% John McCain
64% Mitt Romney
64% Fred Thompson
55% Bill Richardson
49% Rudy Giuliani
44% Chris Dodd
43% Barack Obama
42% Hillary Clinton
41% John Edwards
33% Mike Gravel
32% Joe Biden
26% Dennis Kucinich

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Caspian asked for apple at breakfast this morning, and it was the first time I'd heard him make both sounds for it ("ayh"+"puh"). We're really enjoying hearing "real" words come out of Caspian's mouth finally...but boy, am I grateful for signing! Charlie just remarked yesterday how frustrated we all would be if we didn't sign with Caspian but he still didn't really talk at this point.

We posted a new video yesterday of Caspian jamming to a Psalty song. If you listen hard at some points, you can hear him keening along.

We went to Goodwill yesterday to get some wool sweaters to recycle into longies (jackpot! ). When we passed the electronics section, Caspian picked up a computer mouse whose cord was looped up and rubber-banded. For the entire rest of our trip, he carried the mouse around the store with his wrist through the cord loop, swishing the a Wii remote.

We had Caspian in wool yesterday, and when Charlie put him in his jammies, he forgot to use the PUL cover I'd left sitting out. Thank goodness he added a hemp fleece doubler! Caspian's PJs still stunk, but at least nothing leaked out...

I got 71% on the SciFi Sounds Quiz, but I did purely guess at about 8 or 9 questions.

These only works if you have a LiveJournal username (they fill in your team with your friends list). Many of my "right" answers weren't given as choices, but ya gotta work with what ya got...

LiveJournal Username
Why you did it
Your lair
Your hideous secret weapon
Your favourite colour
Beautiful and exotic but deadly eastern lieutenantminikin
Henchperson who constantly plays with knifesminikin
Your perverted scientific geniusroina_arwen
You cordon bleu chefroina_arwen
Lieutenant with serious moral qualmstaliajenea
Number of countries subverted16

This Fun Quiz created by Andrew at BlogQuiz.Net

LiveJournal Username
Your Primary Super Power
Location of Head Quarters
Primary Costume/Uniform Colors
Why are you a Superhero?
Your Superheroic Codename
The veteran grim member of the teamroina_arwen
The sexist and crass but annoyingly effective oneminikin
The bright-eyed novice or sidekicktaliajenea
The teammate that will eventually go evil or insantaliajenea
The inept yet determined/reoccurring supervillaintaliajenea
The sinister Arch-Villain and team's greatest foeminikin
The perky civilian that keeps getting kidnappedtaliajenea
How often does your team actually 'save the day'?


This Fun Quiz created by Shannon at BlogQuiz.Net

Monday, January 07, 2008

Another Burlington Coat Factory find is sort of from his great-grandparents Higginbotham. We put their Christmas money for him toward a little chair of his own. But of course, we couldn't just get him any old chair...

I caught Caspian mid-blink in this pic, but I wanted to show the dragon's tail and wings.

The first thing he did when we walked into the living room this morning was make a fist, swish it back and forth (as if he were holding a sword), and point to the Wii remotes. Same thing again after his nap. All that because Charlie taught him how to "play" tennis and golf on the Wii! Caspian even has his own Mii. For golf, you just have to hold down a large button and swish your Wii-mote. Charlie actually played doubles tennis with him too, since you only have to swing your Wii-mote like a racket when the ball flies by. I told Caspian he had to wait until Daddy got home to play.

Right now, Caspian is walking around the living room holding a throw pillow in front of his face. He keeps deliberately running into things and tumbling over. Goofy boy!


We played in the park for an hour today — in sandals! It was 70 degrees outside. Crazy! Caspian woke up early when Charlie left for work, took a shortened nap, skipped lunch, and then ran around outside for an hour. For the last 15-20 minutes, he was practically comotose in a swing. He didn't move, didn't look up...and he even started nodding off! Whenever I tried to stop him and take him out, he clutched tightly to the swing and tried rocking himself back and forth. When I finally got him to agree to get down (presumably to go home), he just wanted to run around some more and wouldn't hold my hand to walk home. Eventually I just picked him up and headed off, expecting a struggle, but instead he clutched his arms around my neck and held me all the way home.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Paci has now become "bah bah bah". We were trying to get him to start saying at least the initial consonant sounds of familiar words, and paci used to be "puh puh puh puh". Then we tried getting him to say "păh" for the first syllable of "paci," and it became "bah bah bah" instead.

Caspian said "baby" today, clear as day. Charlie and I were looking at pictures of a friend's new baby during lunch, and Caspian looked over and said, "beh-beh" in a low voice. Charlie and I looked at him in astonishment and asked, "What did you say?" "Beh-beh," he repeated, looking at the picture. Amazed, I asked, "Did you just say 'baby'?" The little stinker grinned at me and said, "dat." Now he's all about babies. He sees them everywhere and has to point them out with a "beh-beh."

Yesterday for lunch, Caspian and I had spinach and leftover lasagna. I let him use his own fork, so he got a nice bath afterwards. I don't know whether I like the eyebrow or the nostril better. At one point, the clumps on his bib formed a very flattering goatee.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Birthday to my mommy!!!

I spent an hour and a half doing dishes yesterday (an accumulation of 2 weeks with me in a wrist brace), so Caspian had a very busy morning. First he played in the living room (where all his toys are) while we listened to Psalty music. Then he wanted to be in the kitchen too, so he emptied out one of the pots-and-pans cabinets. After tiring of that, I showed him that his new pop beads could be sorted into said pots and pans. Later, I revealed to him that the magnets from the fridge could be stuck to the metal baby gate (which he thought was the funniest thing he'd ever seen). 10 minutes later, I showed him that they also stuck to the other metal baby gate. He followed that by emptying out the plasticware cabinet entirely, and finally climbed up on a chair to help me. By "help" I mean scoop water onto the countertop and stick soapy utensils in his mouth. He thought it was very novel, however, and it lasted for 15-20 minutes. He finally got down and played for a while more, but when I went through the gate to the hallway to retreive some errant magnets, he tried to head off down to the bedroom. I took him with me back into the kitchen to clean up his toys and he dry-cried so hard his face literally turned purple — you know, that soundless, tearless, open-mouthed wail that lasts for 10 full seconds? Poor guy was so tired, he just wanted to go have some "boo" and take a nap. I soothed and cuddled him and explained that we had to pick up his toys first, but that I would help him do it. He was a little draggy and sniffly, but he did it anyway. Good boy!

His big obsession is with music. When there's a really good song on (or at least one he likes), Caspian "conducts" and/or does his bouncy dance (plant feet, bend elbows, clench fists, bounce at the knees). Much to my chagrin and embarrassment, he did an even more elaborate and expressive wiggle/bounce dance to the country music that was playing in a store we visited last week. Sigh. Last night, he regaled us with several original tunes on our electronic piano. He is so intent when he's playing and sometimes will dance to his own tunes if he likes them well enough. He also enjoys changing the "voice" of the notes to different instruments, like harpsichord, drum, horns, etc. Most of the time he alternates mashing his hands down on the keys, but last night he experimented with holding down chords (sometimes crooning along) and with scrunching his fingers over the keys (as if his stationary hands were clawing at them). We'll have to upload the video sometime.

Please pray for our college friends and their new daughter:
We would appreciate the prayers of the community for our six-week-old granddaughter, Mirabel, who has been in the pediatric ward since the evening of Dec. 31. Mirabel is suffering with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which is especially dangerous to children under one year of age. She has been receiving breathing treatments and oxygen; but, as of this afternoon her condition had become slightly worse. If she declines further, she will be transferred and placed on a respirator. Aside from coveting prayers for Mirabel, we would also ask prayers for her parents, Chris and Kimberly, who need added strength during this difficult time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

On New Year's Eve, Caspian and I got to hang out briefly at a friend's house on our way home from Wal-Mart, but we spent most of the late evening playing the Wii. Despite the fact that our entire family was convinced the computer was programmed not to allow it, I scored the very first turkey (three strikes in a row) in Wii bowling! It was very exciting.

Random fluff catch-up from fall/winter 2007!

Where are my pants, grandma!?

(his dark blue sock is covering his right hand, if you're wondering where it went)

flannel man!

1st time wearing his new mittens

shopping with grandma and grandpa

One night, Charlie was trying to wear Caspian out before bedtime, so he chased him all over the house. Caspian lured Charlie into the kitchen and stood waiting for him next to the table. As Charlie approached, Caspian tossed a toy into the cats' food area, so Charlie bent over to retrieve it — and Caspian took off running in the opposite direction! The little scamp. Every time Caspian passed the room where I was, he'd run in and grab me (like I was "safe").

One of our biggest "finds" in December was at Burlington Coat Factory. We picked up a 2-in-1 Harness Buddy cum monkey backpack. It is the best thing, ever. The chest and waist straps are the monkey's arms and legs, and the clip-on tail is the leash for the parent to hold. Caspian enjoyed just wearing it around the house, but it was a lifesaver at Joseph-Beth. He could stroll along wherever he liked, while we held onto the hand loop at the end of the monkey's tail. He is already "over" the stroller, so we needed an alternative for when carrying him isn't practical. We keep it in the car now, so it's always handy.

(We tried to get Caspian to hold still AND look up at the camera so we could take a picture of him in it, so I asked "Where's your tummy?")