Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 In Review

This decade, which began with me finishing up my undergrad degree and starting real life for the first time, is quickly coming to a close. What a formative 10 years it has been. I feel like I've gone through many different incarnations of myself in these years. This one I'm living right now though is by far my favorite.

2010 didn't hold many surprises for us and I'm just fine with that. Chris and I learned month by month how to be better parents to our ever developing little man. Together we learned about Milo's allergies and I came up with some new techniques in the kitchen to make life easier. For the first time we joined a CSA and really enjoyed the experience of having farm fresh veggies through the summer.

This year mainly saw us sticking close to home. We tried to take a little family get-away which was a disaster, but we fared much better on our trips to visit Chris' family in Indiana and Atlanta. Chris and I also had an adventure day zip lining in Hocking Hills.

We sadly had to find Prada another home, but the silver lining here is that she is doing really well with her new person. Plus, Milo's skin is much improved and I know we made the right choice. I still miss my kitty though.

2010 was a fairly normal year, if by normal you mean chasing after a toddler. We have fallen into a comfortable rhythm and enjoy our day-to-day life together. Actually I've been enjoying the day to day (the library trips, the family dinner, the cuddles and giggles) so much that the year has gotten away from me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Accomplished

I am so happy to report that this year I don't have the nasty Christmas hangover as in years past. My holiday plan worked and we all came out okay! Sure, there were some misses (like we somehow missed Mass on Christmas Eve yet again this year), but overall the Christmas holiday was joyful. We did many fun things together as a family (Zoo lights, visiting the trains, playing in the snow). Much yummy food was consumed and while Milo and I did bake cookies we didn't make so many that it became stressful. This I think is the key to the holiday season. Moderation. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. And just because two presents under the tree are nice doesn't mean 12 presents are nicer. In keeping with the moderation theme, I shrunk the menu for Christmas dinner here at our house. I used tried and true recipes rather than testing out new ones. It was wonderful and so much easier. To balance out the simple menu (ham, black bean soup, cornbread, sweet potatoes, and fennel citrus salad), I also made a beverage menu for each guest to order from. Fun, easy and special! Just how I like my gatherings.

Hoping you all had similarly wonderful Christmases spent with family and friends. At the end of the day, they are all who matters.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Natural Children's Books

As a consummate book-lover, I have so enjoyed introducing Milo to reading. We've revisited favorites from childhood (Snowy Day, Good Night Moon, the Beatrix Potter books, and a couple of Dr. Seuss) and as he gets older I can't wait to add to that list (I wonder when will the first Harry Potter be appropriate night-time reading).

As much as I love the classics, I'm really enjoying a couple of new finds that I'll lump into a "natural" category. These books clearly have a somewhat specific target audience in mind and it seems we are it! Some of our favorites are:
I read about this book on several other blogs and I'm so glad I requested it from our library, because I love, love, love it. The lyrical lines trace the interconnectedness of all the world and the beautiful artwork shows the wonder of it all. I gave this book to one family as a gift this year and I hope they are enjoying it as much as we have. For me this book gets lumped into the natural genre because of the overall theme and some specific illustrations of farmer's markets and tree planting.
We picked this book up off the library shelf this week on a whim and now I can't count the number of times it has been read at our house. The story traces a little girl and her mother making soup - from picking the freshest veggies at the store to eating the final product. Our little foodie is mesmerized by the words and pictures. Great reading for a wintry day and the soup recipe is even on the last page.

Green Start: In the Garden
This last book was given to us by a friend and it seems to be part of a "green start" series. No author is listed, but the illustrator is Jillian Phillips. The words in this book are very repetitive - the green beans grow on the vine, we pick them and eat them / the orange carrot grows in the ground, we pick it and eat it, but it really appeals to Milo. The art is cute and simple. It's a great little book to introduce gardening.

Have you noticed any other children's book in this "natural" genre?

Friday, December 17, 2010

21 Months!

Our little 21 month-old is still upstairs sleeping right now (9:45 a.m. on Friday morning). Evidently the excitement of being out for his Uncle's birthday last night deserved an extra couple of hours or sleep (he typically sleeps until about 7:20ish). Or perhaps he has hit the teenage years of sleeping until noon already.

At dinner last night, it was clear we now have a fun-loving little boy rather than a baby. He used a grown-up fork with ease, he was pissed I cut his burger into smaller pieces, and he repeatedly yelled FRIES at the waitress who mistakenly didn't ask him for his order. He also sang us all his new rendition of Row Row Row Your Boat which brought the house down.

This last month has been a busy one including Milo's first plane trip (he did great!), celebrating Thanksgiving with Chris' family in Atlanta (lots of fun) and a continuation of learning to climb to higher heights (a bit scary for Mama).

What has really struck me about Milo this month is just how sweet he is. He has a smile for everyone and a hug for people he really likes. We can go whole days without crying which is just amazing to me. Part of this, of course, is that his verbal skills are much better and he can tell me what he needs or wants. The other part of this though is that he's just pretty easy going.

In the midst of getting ready for Christmas and partaking in all the fun festivities, I have also made sure we have some nights at home just the three of us. Honestly, these are best! We laugh and tickle, read books, and make up games involving a stuffed cat and balls (the rules aren't clear, but it sure is a family favorite). Our little guy likes to be out and about, but I think he really shines at home. And this makes my heart sing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Ah, I missed posting about Thanksgiving or as I've come to think of it Thanks Giving. I tend to gloss over some of the facts of the first Thanksgiving, but I really do like the idea of sitting down to a meal together in celebration and preparing for hard days to come. If you can think of some reasons in your life to be thankful then all the better. Here are some of things I jotted down on a notepad (which I had to keep tracking down as a certain toddler wanted to also journal his feelings) throughout November for which I am thankful:
  • Good, wholesome food that makes your body feel its best.
  • Unexpected sunny days spent with friends at the park.
  • Spicy Mochas from Caribou Coffee
  • The power of a rejuvenating nap to turn a day around.
  • A toddler helping to mix muffins while standing on a chair.
  • The homey smell of those muffins while they bake.
  • Grandparents who babysit and a little boy who asks for G and Pa constantly once they leave.
  • And, of course, my husband and our marriage of three years.