Photo Friday

Time to play a little catch-up with photos! It’s been about a month, I think, since I’ve posted. We’ve been busy! The first week of August Chris’ parents came to visit, and the following week we went up to my family’s cabin on Lake Champlain, where there is no internet access. This past week has been a bit of a blur trying to settle back into regular routines, catch up with laundry, etc. Chris was expecting things to be a bit calmer at work now but he went back in on Tuesday only to discover that they are still requesting them to work 50 hour weeks, so he has worked two late nights already this week and will probably work on Saturday as well. I’m getting a little better at juggling solo bedtime with two little ones, but it is still a bit tricky since Anya likes to spend most of the evening attached to me and nursing constantly, tanking up for the night.

Our week with Chris’ parents was very nice for all of us. This was the first time they have made it out here to see where we live, where Chris works, and of course to meet Anya! Most of the time was spent with them exploring the area a bit on little day trips with Chris and Lewis (the most successful of which I think was to the Albany Pine Bush) while Anya and I hung out here nursing, napping, and attempting to wash some dishes. We also spent time with everyone hanging out here, playing with chalk and bubbles, swimming in the pool, etc. Lewis loved having visitors and by the end of the week was telling them to stay here and not go home! I don’t have a lot of photos from the visit since most of the photos that were taken were on Chris’ phone, but there are a couple here as well as some from before their visit.

They said goodbye Friday night, and Saturday morning was spent busily cleaning and packing to head up to my family’s camp. It was a lovely visit as well but I guess I will leave the details for a later post since these pictures are all from prior to that! Hopefully I will have some time to hop on the computer again soon and sort through the many photos from our trip.

Bath time! She loves dangling her toes down into the warm water.

Bath time! She loves dangling her toes down into the warm water.

Calmly relaxing after her bath - another example of how different she is from her brother! He always wanted to snuggle and nurse the second he was out of the water, and if he didn't get that there would be crying and screaming.

Calmly relaxing after her bath – another example of how different she is from her brother! He always wanted to snuggle and nurse the second he was out of the water, and if he didn’t get that there would be crying and screaming.

My two cuties. <3

My two cuties. ❤

Art time! He's starting to become more purposeful with his drawing and can even write the letters E and F when he wants to.

Art time! He’s starting to become more purposeful with his drawing and can even write the letters E and F when he wants to.

Perfect day for a snack outside!

Perfect day for a snack outside!

Anya is happy to be outside too.

Anya is happy to be outside too.

Anya and Grandpa. :)

Anya and Grandpa. 🙂

Hmmm... for some reason everyone wants to look at that cute baby instead of the camera.

Hmmm… for some reason everyone wants to look at that cute baby instead of the camera.

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Photo Friday

Hello! I seem to be just squeezing this in while it’s barely still Friday, but I figured I’d better do some cuteness sharing while I had the chance since I missed last Friday. 🙂

It’s amazing how much and how little can happen in a week or two. Our days seem to go by in a blur of sleep-deprivedness, walks, messes, and most of all nursing the baby. Especially earlier this week when she was in the midst of a growth spurt and barely stopped nursing for a day or two. She even took a break from most of her day time naps to gain even more nursing time. Thank goodness she somehow managed to still sleep well for the nights during this. (As well as a baby can be expected to sleep, that is.) Lewis has been a champ and while he clearly would like more interaction from Mommy he is generally quite good at self-entertaining when needed and is still very much in love with his little sister.

Anya is a little darling and spends her days nursing, sleeping, gazing on the world with serious eyes, nursing some more, and gracing us with a few delightful smiles now and then.

Sweet sleeper in a rumpled bed. She often nurses and goes back to sleep for an extra hour or two after the rest of us are up for the day.

Sweet sleeper in a rumpled bed. She often nurses and goes back to sleep for an extra hour or two after the rest of us are up for the day.

Who knew cotton balls could be such a mess!

Who knew cotton balls could be such a mess!

The best thing to do with playdoh? Mix all the colors to a beautiful brown. (Lewis insists that it is black, and he quite purposefully mixed all the colors to achieve this. He also has the same goal when using paints.)

The best thing to do with playdoh? Mix all the colors to a beautiful brown. (Lewis insists that it is black, and he quite purposefully mixed all the colors to achieve this. He also has the same goal when using paints.)

Bubble fun while baby sister sleeps inside.

Bubble fun while baby sister sleeps inside.

Baby story time. <3

Baby story time. ❤

This isn't a mess, it is creativity and imagination in action.

This isn’t a mess, it is creativity and imagination in action.

What do you do when presented with a large bag of stuffing? Make clouds, then turn the clouds into a comfy bed!

What do you do when presented with a large bag of stuffing? Make clouds, then turn the clouds into a comfy bed!

Lewis has a recent interest in puppets, particularly marionettes. After watching several youtube videos yesterday about puppet making and various types of puppets, we decided to make our own. Lewis is having fun with his new ghosty friend!

Lewis has a recent interest in puppets, particularly marionettes. After watching several youtube videos yesterday about puppet making and various types of puppets, we decided to make our own. Lewis is having fun with his new ghosty friend!

How do you make a baby even cuter? Decorate their butt with a cute picture!

How do you make a baby even cuter? Decorate their butt with a cute picture!

Photo Friday

Happy Friday! Baby Anya is one month old as of yesterday, and of course I have no idea how the month has flown by so quickly. At her well baby visit she weighed in at 10 lb 11 oz, and was 23 inches long. This is fun because they looked up Lewis’ chart and he was also 10 lb 11 oz at one month, and was 23.5 inches long. He was an inch longer at birth though so he had a head start on his height.

Our poor little girl is all covered in a ridiculously terrible case of baby acne. When the first several dots showed up on her tummy and face last week I thought “oh, baby acne, no big deal” but as more and more dots showed up we started to wonder if maybe it was some other kind of horrible rash. Her tummy, chest, back, face, and even her scalp are completely covered, and it is starting now to spread onto her arms as well. The doctor has confirmed that it is baby acne and that we can’t do much besides gentle baths with plain water or a mild soap and just wait for it to clear up on it’s own in the next few weeks. She doesn’t really seem bothered by it, but I’m not sure if we’d know she was anyway since she can’t exactly tell us or attempt to scratch her own back or anything.

Lewis is enjoying our daily walks outside and the fact that he can climb off the stroller and explore while I push Anya back and forth nearby. He’s also enjoying turning the house upside down and dumping out every toy he owns while Mommy is trapped on the couch with a constantly nursing baby and can’t come clean up the resulting messes. He is also clearly loving the color red which he is wearing in nearly all these photos.

Playing with some "Sculpty Sand" which he is really loving and has been asking for frequently.

Playing with some “Sculpty Sand” which he is really loving and has been asking for frequently.

Sparklers for the 4th of July!

Sparklers for the 4th of July!

I love her intense gaze whenever she's studying someone's face.

I love her intense gaze whenever she’s studying someone’s face.

It's beautiful to see how much these two already love each other. <3

It’s beautiful to see how much these two already love each other. ❤

All set up for a water transfer experiment.

All set up for a water transfer experiment.

A beautiful mix of art and science. Lewis really enjoyed this, and I'm sure we'll repeat it in the future with different color combinations and maybe different jar arrangements.

A beautiful mix of art and science. Lewis really enjoyed this, and I’m sure we’ll repeat it in the future with different color combinations and maybe different jar arrangements.

She's already starting to look so big/long and losing that newborn look. Her giant cloth-diaper-butt means that she's going to outgrow all her 0-3 month onsies ridiculously soon.

She’s already starting to look so big/long and losing that newborn look. Her giant cloth-diaper-butt means that she’s going to outgrow all her 0-3 month onsies ridiculously soon.

Happy 1 month baby girl!

Happy 1 month baby girl!

Baby smiles make me smile. :)

Baby smiles make me smile. 🙂

Fun with chalk in the rain.

Fun with chalk in the rain.

Photo Friday

Happy Friday everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the start of summer! Last Saturday we all went to the Strawberry Festival. Anya obliged us by sleeping in the stroller up until it was almost time to head home. It was a fairly quick trip because Lewis decided he liked riding in the stroller and looking at everything as we walked past, but he wasn’t interested in getting out to actually take a closer look at anything or participate in any of the crafts. He totally vetoed even going close to the petting zoo/pony rides. The one thing he was excited to try though was braking a board in front of the Tae Kwon Do studio. He has been interested in Tae Kwon Do ever since seeing a demonstration in the Niskaday parade, so he thought it was really great that he got to break a board of his own this time.

Chris went back to work on Wednesday, so today is day 3 of me being home alone with the two little ones. So far it is going very well. Anya still sleeps a lot, though we are seeing her eyes open more and more every day. Her sleeping means that I’m still getting plenty of time to play one-on-one with Lewis and even wash a few dishes. The trickiest thing for me has been trying to find the right time to get Lewis outside for some play time. I need to work on getting Anya used to being in (and sleeping in) the sling or other carrier, so that I can carry her around that way while letting Lewis wander and play like he likes to do. The past few days we’ve been sticking to using the stroller outside but she’s really not sure how she feels about that yet either, so we’ve been keeping our trips outside pretty short.

And although she is overall a pretty good sleeper so far, she does seem to be timing some of her awake times rather inopportunely. Apparently when I am cooking lunch or sitting to eat with Lewis is the obvious time for her to also want her lunch, and time for me to cook dinner is of course the perfect time for her to wake up needing milk and snuggles. She has also decided that evenings are for frantic cluster feeding, which means I end up tied to the couch nursing her for a few hours when I’d really like to be able to grab a shower, relax a little bit, or just get to bed! She’s still very tiny though and I know her “schedule” will probably shift 100 times in the next month so I will continue to just follow her cues and daydream about the day when I’ll be able to eat, sleep, and bathe on my own preferred schedule once again. (Overall she is really a very calm and happy baby, and much “easier” than Lewis ever was as an infant.)

Practicing the punch he'll need to use to break the board.

Practicing the punch he’ll need to use to break the board.

Board broken on his second try.

Board broken on his second try.

Lewis is still loving his new baby and asks to hold her multiple times per day.

Lewis is still loving his new baby and asks to hold her multiple times per day.

Oops, that big heavy head is hard to keep supported!

Oops, that big heavy head is hard to keep supported!

The baby has been set down somewhere: cue Lewis immediately appearing to snuggle/kiss/pet/climb around near her!

The baby has been set down somewhere: cue Lewis immediately appearing to snuggle/kiss/pet/climb around near her!

Mommy and baby selfie while sitting outside watching Daddy and Brother coloring with chalk.

Mommy and baby selfie while sitting outside watching Daddy and Brother coloring with chalk.

The two artists, each lost in his own world.

The two artists, each lost in his own world.

My beautiful little sleeper. <3

My beautiful little sleeper. ❤

Lewis had fun painting some pictures with watercolors, until he discovered that painting his skin was even more fun!

Lewis had fun painting some pictures with watercolors, until he discovered that painting his skin was even more fun!

Birthday Letter

Dear Lewis,

Happy Birthday! You are turning two today, although in some ways you seem much older than that. You are so smart, funny, creative, sweet, and imaginative. You bring so much joy to every day for both me and your Daddy. I can’t believe how much you have grown from when we first got to meet you, and I can’t wait to see how much you continue growing and learning in this new year of your life.

New folder2

You are still my little baby in some ways, still breastfeeding, still waking once or more in the night, still need lots of love and reassurance at times. But in other ways you are becoming so grown up. You decided a week ago that it was time to start wearing underwear, and you are rocking that decision. You have been dry all day the past two or three days, including during your naps. You are also becoming more and more social and comfortable talking to and interacting with people outside of our family. You are a wonderful and sweet little man (although you do get a bit wild at times) and you are starting to show that you are learning some wonderful manners. I love hearing your little voice say “Tank you Dada” or “Tank you Mama” when we give you something or share something with you. You are also remembering to say “please” more and more often when you want something or need our help.

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Play time with his new Little People fire station and some of his other new toys. Grandpa was having almost as much fun playing as Lewis was.

This time of year it is hard for much of our family to come visit us, but we were lucky to have Grandma and Grandpa B stop by for a few hours on Sunday. It was just enough time for a yummy birthday lunch and cake, opening up your presents, and some fun play time together. You were clearly loving every minute with them and have already been asking me when they will visit again. The visit seems to have brought other family to mind as well since you have also been asking about your Aunts and Uncles, and requesting to go to Michigan to see our family out there. Luckily for you we will get chances to see everyone again over the next few months, including a trip to MI for Christmas.

You seem to be really enjoying all your new presents equally, and I am pleased that Daddy and I were able to choose so well for you. You didn’t give us much to go on – when I asked you what you would like for your birthday your response was “cake!” And yes you got a yummy cake and since there are only three of us to eat it up there is plenty more to have some tonight on your “real” birthday. You requested chocolate, and so I used my family’s standard chocolate zucchini cake recipe, but it turned out your favorite part was the buttercream frosting on top. I decorated it with bugs on top and thought I did a pretty decent job, but you apparently thought my ladybug was a melon so now I’m not so sure…

Melon beetle?

Melon beetle?

"Yes! This is what I've been waiting for!"

“Yes! This is what I’ve been waiting for!”

I hope you are having a truly fabulous birthday my darling, and that this coming year continues to bring much joy, love, and excitement for you. I am looking forward to more art, stories, games of tag and hide and seek, play time in the snow, and adventures to new and wonderful places. I love you so much, and love all of our time together.

Happy happy birthday my darling!

Love, Mama

Veggies For Breakfast – Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Life is continuing on here in much its usual way. Toys are played with and strewn around the apartment, hide-and-seek is played at least fifty times a day, and vacuuming is done over and over again, as are dishes and laundry washing. We go for daily walks and spend as much time as possible digging in dirt, looking for bugs, an picking dandelions.

All this busy time playing and exploring the world requires some good fuel. If Lewis had his way he would still be mainly fueled by constant breastfeeding sessions (in between digging in the dirt, playing in the sink, and carpeting our apartment with a random assortment of objects.) He still chooses to nurse several times a day, but I need some real food to fuel my part in all the activities, and he does a pretty good job of eating his share of real food as well.

Breakfast was the last meal we started giving him regularly, because he just wasn’t interested for a long time. Even now he can still take it or leave it depending on what’s on offer. However, oatmeal is one thing that I can pretty much always count on him to eat a good portion of and fill up his little tummy.

A big bowl for Mama, and a little bowl for baby.

A big bowl for Mama, and a little bowl for baby.

Often I go the easy route of cooking it in the microwave. Yes! Real oatmeal can be cooked in the microwave! It’s just as easy as those packets of “instant” oatmeal, and you get to avoid all that extra salt, sugar, and other unpronounceable ingredients. Just mix your oats, water, and whatever extras you want and microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring in between until you reach your desired consistency. (But do keep an eye on it because sometimes it likes to mysteriously overflow from the bowl.)

Some days I feel like putting a little more effort in and actually cook our oats on the stove top, adding some extra ingredients to make it a little more fancy and give it an extra boost of nutrition. I think it was on The Kitchn website that I first saw the idea of adding an egg to oatmeal, although I can’t find the post now. It makes the texture of the oatmeal a bit lighter and creamier, plus adds a little extra protein and whatever other good stuff is in an egg. And of course I’m always looking for ways to add more veggies into all of our diets.

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Mmmm.

This recipe is inspired by carrot cake, although to be honest it doesn’t quite taste like carrot cake. it would need a lot more sugar for that, and the texture is completely different, but it is still very yummy! The measurements here are all approximate since my cooking style involves mixing together a handful of this, a pinch of that, and a good shake of the other thing.

“Carrot cake” oatmeal (2 servings)

1 cup oats

1 carrot finely grated

1 egg

1 1/2 c. water (sometimes I substitute in some juice or milk instead – juice adds a little sweetness, milk makes it more creamy)

1 handful raisins

2 -4 T shredded coconut

2 t brown sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 t each ginger and nutmeg

 

Mix oats and grated carrot. Whisk in egg until well mixed. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil on medium heat, turn down heat and simmer stirring occasionally until done.

Optional toppings: Chopped walnuts, more coconut, a splash of milk or cream, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup. And if you are Lewis, an extra handful of raisins on the side!

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So good I could wear it!

The oatmeal has some visible orange flecks from the carrot, but this doesn’t seem to deter Lewis at all. Yum yum!

 

Little Things

Spring is here! The snow is nearly all gone, I’ve spotted flowers (daffodils and others) beginning to poke their leaves up through the ground, and I heard geese flying by today. As usual we are loving the chance to spend more wonderful time outside, both playing around the apartments and going for walks. IMG_3789 Lewis is so busy these days, so completely a toddler, that I am finding (and have been for a while now) that I don’t have the time or energy to update this blog nearly as much as I would like. So many projects, activities, games, and random daily happenings that I could share but which just end up as a snap shot in a Photo Friday post, or which maybe never get mentioned at all. It occurred to me recently that it has been a while since I’ve done a post just sharing where Lewis is at right now – his interests, abilities, etc.

He’s reaching for more and more independence recently. Choosing his own clothes more often, sometimes with interesting results. Venturing a bit farther from Mama when we are out and about, playing by himself while I stop to chat with a neighbor, or wandering off a bit in the library while I check out our books.

He is saying more and more new words every day, but also becoming increasingly frustrated when he says something and I fail to understand him. He says a word, I attempt to translate it but get it wrong, suddenly he is saying “Nah! Nah!” and kicking his feet with an angry and upset look on his face. It is a deep personal offence that I have not understood what he is trying to communicate. Luckily these little instances don’t last long. I either figure out what he is telling me, or we manage to move on fairly quickly and the moment is forgotten. I can see that he is beginning to learn the skills of having a tantrum, but we luckily have not entered into full tantrum territory yet. IMG_3817 I’ve continued to invite him into the kitchen more, giving him small tasks to help with as I cook or get dinner ready. He helps carry things to the table, puts things away in the fridge, sprinkles spices, stirs and mixes. Yesterday we made garlic bread together. He sprinkled garlic powder, oregano, and thyme into the soft butter, I mixed it in a bit and then handed it over to him to continue stirring while I checked the food cooking on the stove top. I turned back around to find him eating gobs and gobs of butter off the butter knife. Yum! Together we spread the butter onto the bread, and then he took over the empty dish and knife, sitting in the living room and licking out every last bit of butter he could find. He chose not to eat any of the bread once it was toasted though.

Poop! (Or in the Language of Lewis: "boof!")

Poop! (Or in the Language of Lewis: “boof!”)

Ever since he has been mobile we have had silly time after dinner/before bed when we all run around and play together, often chasing around and around in circles through the apartment, or pretending to be airplanes, or popping out and scaring each other. Sometimes Daddy or I will go in the other room or behind the couch and then pop out to startle Lewis, which he thinks is hilarious.

This past weekend we introduced the concept of playing hide-and-seek. We have a big box in the living room that has been used for many play opportunities, and this has now become our counting base. It started off with Lewis and I (or my head anyway) in the box counting to ten, and Daddy hiding. Then Daddy took turns helping him count while I hid. Sometimes he quickly starts running around looking for the hider, other times he demands to be picked up and to have help looking.

He had a lot of fun playing this on the weekend and has now started initiating it himself. Sometimes he will say “hunt Dada” (and he was saying hide one day but then hasn’t continued saying it) and then he sits in the box and says “Nine. Nine. Nine.” It’s a little tricky when I am the only one home with him – I have to count to ten from the other room, say “ready or not come and find me!” and then quickly hide myself. Still fun though. Yesterday evening we all were playing and when we would count with him he started saying “Ten!” after we finished counting, but I haven’t heard him say it yet when not just repeating it.

When we were in Vermont a few weekends ago he learned the word “spooky” from Daddy, used mostly to refer to dark rooms. He has been applying this to our hide-and-seek games and won’t go into a dark room to look for someone. He declares “Booka! On! On!” to let us know it is too dark and we must turn on the light.

Mostly, he continues to be extremely cute and wonderful and fun. I’m sure there are a million other sweet little stories I could share, but it is late and I think I should take advantage of something called “sleep” while I have the chance for a few hours before he decides to wake up needing Mama milk.