Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summertime

We are having a very nice, relaxing summer. Back when it was time for to put in requests for Sundays for the summer, I realized that 1) we had both just gotten raises and 2) he has lots of time off banked already. So since the reason for him to work Sundays is to either get overtime pay or comp time, we decided to treat ourselves to a summer off. The branch libraries are closed on Saturdays in the summer, so except for an obligatory Saturday at the regional library (which still has Saturday hours), he has no weekend hours this summer. I still have them, of course, but we've still managed at least one weekend day off together for the past month except last weekend. Lovely.

The older kids are having a great time at camp. Katherine has reunited with her camp friends and Alec is learning how to swim. If they could only stop bringing viruses home, life would be great (I have been trying to mail a package for the past 2 1/2 weeks, and no kidding, every single day I thought I might be able to make it to the post office another kid would get sick). When they're not running fevers, though, they're having a great summer. See?





Exercise: 25 minutes on exercise bike

Monday, June 30, 2014

Five

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Last Monday, Alec turned five. He also started his first day at Big Kid camp, attending day camp with Katherine for the first time, five days a week. In the past month, he has also had his last day of preschool ever, because he starts kindergarten in the fall. My little boy is getting so big!

Very big, actually. He's 45 inches tall and 43 pounds, which is the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight. He's always been a very solid kid, and he's starting to thin out and get a bit more willowy.

Currently, he loves Legoes and playing Lego-related computer games. He can spend hours playing with Play-doh. He has started enacting elaborate conversations between toy figures (or the other day, puzzle pieces). He's starting to read short words and do basic addition. I predict great things for him next year in kindergarten.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nine

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Last Saturday, Katherine turned nine years old. That's just one year away from double digits. I started getting body hair at nine. I'm so very not ready to contemplate puberty yet.

Currently, she's 53 inches tall and 60 pounds - long and skinny. I have a strong feeling that she's due for a growth spurt upwards any day now. She's solidly in Big Kid territory these days, and starting to show hints of the young woman she's going to become.

She still happily plays involved games with toys and plans out elaborate projects. She's a Minecraft aficionado. She loves sewing, crafts, science and cooking. The confluence of those things have resulted in her being banned from using flour unsupervised (a choice quote from the last incident: "But I didn't use it in my room!" It can be a bit exhausting trying to keep up with a child who has always had a talent for enacting projects that I had no idea I needed to forbid, but I so admire her creativity and ingenuity.

I can't believe we're going to have a fourth grader next year. Our Big Girl.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

It was a day

It was... not a great parenting day. More like the kind of day that makes you wonder if Medea had the right idea. But it was pretty amusing when Alec was wailing as I carried him into preschool that he didn't want to go to this school because "It has too many windows!"

He's in a phase lately where if he doesn't like something but can't verbal why, he grabs onto the first trait he can see. Recently, he was insisting he didn't like the Spiderman shirt I bought him because "It's too stripy and fluffy."

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Exercise: 20 minutes on exercise bike

Excuse note

So Thursday night, I stayed up obscenely late finishing Katherine's dress. Then after I finally made it to bed, that special sensor that babies and small children possess that lets them know that since their parents are choosing to go without sleep tripped in James and he decided to join me.

Friday, I was foggy and tired all day, and the gnome inhabiting my sinuses had babies and they all tried to burrow out through my forehead with their adorable little pickaxes. Since then, there have been several nights where 2 AM has been prime toddler party time. Last night, Katherine got in on the act and I had the pair of them in bed with me, completely failing to sleep.

Which is all to say that I've been very very very very more than just a little bit tired, not to mention not feeling great. I DID manage to exercise several nights - 25 minutes Sunday, rearranging and vacuuming Katherine's bedroom on Monday, 30 minutes on Tuesday. But I haven't been managing to write, since the place in my brain where the words are is mostly a dull tired hum at the moment. Not to mention the fact that I keep falling asleep on the couch every evening.

Today, I walked around Costco, which seems sufficiently exercising, and I made myself sit down at the keyboard early enough to dredge some dried up words out of the corn stubble of my brain. All of the children went to bed at a reasonable hour, so hopefully they'll let me sleep as well and I can get back on track with this whole writing and exercising thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quickie

I'm making Katherine a dress with the solar system appliqued on it, and in a foolhardy moment, told her that I might be able to finish it in time for her to wear to school on Friday when she has a no-uniform day. Thus I have no time to type. I'll post a picture when I'm done though, because such an absurd amount of work needs to be shared.

Exercise: Some sort of malicious gnome decided to climb into my sinuses and is attempted to dig his way back out with a pickaxe so I'm not at my best. 20 minutes on the exercise bike tonight. Nothing formal last night, but I made two trips to Target and went to the grocery store, which adds up to approximately two and a half Bataan Death Marches worth of walking.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken gyros

I recently discovered the most wonderfully easy dinner - chicken gyros. I know the word "gyros" conjures up the image of specialized equipment and meat on a spit, but the magic of chicken is that you don't need any of that.

Ingredients:
Boneless chicken in an amount suitable to feed the number of people you want to feed
ditto flatbread
cucumber
tomatoes
onion
tzatziki sauce
feta cheese

Throw a couple pounds of boneless chicken in the crockpot with some olive oil and greek seasoning (the seasoning I use is McCormick Greek Seasoning, which I bought in the grocery store. If you can't find anything like that, there are about twelve million recipes for greek seasoning mixes available for the Googling). Cook on high for two hours or low for four hours. Cut the chicken into slices.

Warm up some flatbread or pita to make it more flexible by putting in it a hot skillet for a couple minutes or wrapping it in a damp paper towel and microwaving it for a minute or so. I've taken to using our Foreman grill, which lets me do several at once. Cut up some tomatoes and cucumbers into slices and finely slice some onion. Crumble of some feta cheese if you're of a mind to. Put some tzatziki sauce (Trader Joes makes an excellent tzatziki, but I've seen it in most supermarkets. And ooh, Trader Joes Greek Yogurt dip is fantastic on this too) on the flatbread, pile on the chicken, vegetables and cheese and eat, reveling in the knowledge that you've provided a hot meal with about five minutes of prep time. I've served this three times in the past three weeks and so far nobody has started pelting me with pitas when I announce we're having it yet again.


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Exercise: 20 minutes on exercise bike - I was sick today, so I feel pretty damn heroic doing that much

Monday, May 19, 2014

Signs of progress

As I've said several times in the past, it's always been difficult to know how well Katherine reads. Her school has been extraordinarily patient with her performance anxiety when it comes to reading and writing (the writing issue has led to us to decide to have her formally tested for learning disabilities), and she's definitely made a significant amount of progress this year. She actually admits that she can read a bit now, for instance. She's even been occasionally willing to read out loud in class.

But the biggest sign of progress yet came this evening. She wants to have a sleepover, and I've told her she can't do that until she can go to sleep without one of us sitting with her (she was the lucky inheritor of my childhood fear of the dark). Tonight, she decided to try going to sleep on her own, and she decided to try reading to help herself fall asleep.

Reading for pleasure and falling asleep on her own. Our big girl.

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Exercise: 25 minutes on exercise bike

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shameless bragging

This evening, I was making Alec take a few bites of dinner before being excused. He had taken three bites, and I asked him to take two more, then asked him if he had taken three bites and then took two more, how many would he have taken? He took a bite, then said, "Five."

He was evaluated for a speech delay earlier this year and the evaluation report came back reporting fairly limited math skills for his age. I'm thinking they were a bit off on that.

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At James's two-year appointment, he weighed in at 24 pounds, 3 ounces. That's no weight gain at all from his previous doctor's appointment six weeks earlier (when we took him in after he had been throwing up for two weeks straight, so you would think once the vomiting stopped, he would put some weight back on). And it's around the 5th percentile for weight, when he's over 50th percentile for height. This is somewhat worrisome.

Now mind you, I don't think he's ever managed to crack the 35 percentile for weight, but a drop in weight gain curve from the 30th to 5th percentile is still not something you want to see. It could be quite likely he just takes after his father, who was six feet tall and 140 pounds when we met, and could be legitimately accused of being able to disappear by turning sideways. But meanwhile, we're working hard on getting more fattening foods into him.

I had thought we were doing pretty well on that front. But as it turns out, while we were giving him lots of fat and protein, closer attention to what he actually eats revealed that our toddler is attempting to turn himself into an herbivore. All of the nice fattening cheese or sunflower butter sandwiches in the world won't matter if he plows his way through a plate of apple slices first.

It seems silly to complain that my child likes fruits and vegetables too much, but he really does need fat and protein to grow properly too. I didn't realize the extent of the problem until the other day when he threw a cheese stick on the ground and came over to me to beg for lettuce.

Good lord child, that's just weird.

Anyway, I'm giving him less plant matter so he can't fill up on that and making a bigger effort to get him to drink milk. I haven't pushed cow's milk much because he's not incredibly fond of it and if he doesn't drink enough liquid, he comes to me to make up for it. I've partially solved that by adding hot chocolate powder to his morning milk, which both make it more appealing and adds calories. I've started giving him cheese sticks as a default snack and putting cream cheese on his morning toast. And there's always direct injections of lard. We'll fatten up our little piggy yet.

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Exercise: twenty minutes on exercise bike, 11000 steps per pedometer (thank you James, for deciding to do laps around the bookstore this evening)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

3/4 asleep blogging

Alec to B as we were dropping him off at work yesterday:
"Bye Daddy! We miss you! Happy Mother's Day!"

He brought home two Mother's Day presents for me, about which he is absurdly proud. In one of them, he describes me as being 100 pounds and taller than a crayon. He's not technically wrong about my height, mind you, but it does give me the mental image of him seeing me as being extremely short and squat.


Exercise: 20 minutes on exercise bike, and I feel downright heroic because I was three quarters asleep on the couch before I remembered I needed to exercise and yet I still hauled myself up and did it.