Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What We Did During Chuck's Spring Break: Wednesday

I love today. Love. I got up, ran, came home to an already-fed little boy; I showered and got ready for the day. We then headed downtown around 8 in the morning. Although we hit some traffic on the GW parkway, it didn't make me want to get out of the car and jump in the Potomac (like it has the potential to do). We arrived at the Tidal Basin around 9 a.m. and found parking near Hains Point. Because of the earliness of the day, there weren't that many people there. We were able to walk the dog and the stroller easily and quite enjoyably. We even made a quick detour at the FDR Memorial where Rhett absolutely loved the waterfalls. He was not happy to have to leave them. By the time we were done (around 11ish), things had definitely gotten busier and we weren't sad to go. But it was a gorgeous day with gorgeous weather and gorgeous people. Right?! Of course right!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What They Did During Chuck's Spring Break: Tuesday

Because I had to work, Chuck got some super time with Rhett and his parents. First, let me tell you something about Rhett and his paternal grandparents: he calls them Google and Gummy. Why? Frequently when Rhett is visiting them, Chuck's dad will be sitting at his computer. Rhett likes to look at family pictures with him and in order to do so, Chuck's dad uses a Google browser. Hence Google. And Gummy? That's easy: she feeds him lots of gummy candies! And what does he call my parents? That's easy too: "No Google" and "No Gummy." Don't worry; I'm working on sneaking in a regular Grandma and Grandpa.

Anyway, today the boys spent some time with Google and Gummy. In the morning, they flew a kite with Google. And after nap, Gummy and the boys went to the park to ride the train and carousel and to play on the enormous playground. Fun times had by all!

For reals now, next up: Cherry Blossoms!

If you don't believe me about the No Google and No Gummy, check this out:

Monday, March 29, 2010

What We Did During Chuck's Spring Break: Monday

While there are definitely drawbacks to Chuck being a teacher, one of the benefits is his six-school-day spring break. (Remember it two years ago? When he was able to have the entire first 10 days of Rhett's life off because they coincided perfectly? I do.)

We've got four fun-filled days planned (I'm still working my regular schedule). Monday we went to
Port Discovery in Baltimore. Everyone had a great time, although maybe some more than others.

Rhett's first time on a mini-golf course. You can see how it turned out. I don't think he's the next Tiger. And really, that's okay with me.

He didn't like the balls either. This picture, while hysterical, is quite deceiving.

He did, however, LOVE the play kitchen. He loves to play with the stove and stir.

We met Curious George. I was surprised that he wasn't more scared of him, but instead gave him a nice kiss and hug.

An art project. He liked the painting of the dots. Sorry to say we didn't bring his creation home with us.

He did like riding the cow. Milking? Not so much.

And he loved riding the horse.

Next up: Cherry Blossoms!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Made by e: Out of the Ashes Comes the Phoenix

I had one of my most embarrassing moments two weeks ago. Picture it: a Relief Society Seder dinner. Dinner organizers asked for volunteers to bring a couple of dishes, including a potato kugel. (Potato kugel is a traditional Jewish dish served at Passover time at the Seder dinner. Think Jewish funeral potatoes, kind of.) They gave us a recipe that seemed pretty straight-forward, so I went for it.

The recipe calls for pounds and pounds of grated potatoes. The day of the event, I decide to assemble the dish during Rhett's nap (about 5 hours before dinner), so that I can spend afternoon time with all of my guys rather than cooking. Everything seemed to go okay during assembly, and the dish went covered into the fridge, and then later into the oven.

But let me tell you that it came out of the oven as the most disgusting thing I've ever made. Ever. It was purple. Seriously people, purple. But knowing that the RS committee is counting on me, I decide to bring it in its purple state anyway.

I slid it onto the church's kitchen counter, hoping nobody noticed that the hideous purple mess came from me. No one seemed to. I wasn't the only one bringing kugel, and, thankfully, the committee put a couple of slices of each of the kugels onto a plate, and gave each table a "kugel sampler." Therefore, no one table was stuck with my purple puke. Just pieces of purple puke. When my own table received their kugel sampler, you better believe I made no such claim to that wreck. Someone even asked about the one that was purple, but I chuckled along with everyone else. I also didn't touch it, like everyone else.

At the end of the dinner, I slinked back into the kitchen to retrieve my hopefully-empty dish. Of course there was still some in it. I was simply mortified to have to grab that pan and have it attached to me. I hurried to the car and laughed the whole way home. It really was absolutely terrible. Of course I should have taken a picture, but didn't.

However, from this horrible experience came a silver lining: it inspired me to create a casserole carrier, like one my mom had when I was growing up. In case I ever make anything so gross again, I want something cute to hide it. In addition to using my mom's carrier as inspiration, I saw some online and created my own pattern (with the help of my product designer, Chuck). I love it. Now I just need to create another hideous creation so that I can hide it in this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rhett's Birthday, Expanded

Rhett's Quantitative Stats
Height: 33 1/4" (25th percentile)
Weight: 27 lbs. 8 oz. (50th percentile)

Rhett's Qualitative Stats
Admittedly, I have no serious knowledge of kids other than Rhett, but he seems like one easy boy, as far as toddlers go. Yes, he has his moments, but most of the time, he's a funny, happy little boy. It's hard for me, however, to typecast his personality (which makes me feel like a horrible mom who doesn't even know her own son). Thankfully, I found some literature in his file that helped me a bit.

Rhett's a pretty active little boy. He loves being outside and going down "whees" (a.k.a. slides or swings). However, after yielding to his desires to go to the park, he frequently ditches the playground to scale the nearby hills and play in the tennis court. But with the high activity level also comes a high tolerance for sitting, at least during reading times. He can sit and read for 30 - 45 minutes. He loves reading and currently his favorite books are "Go, Dog, Go!" and anything Berenstain Bears.

He seems to easily adapt to new situations and people. While not necessarily embracing them immediately, he loves to explore new places. Especially if those new places have new toys. That's the surest way to win him over.

Rhett loves his schedule almost as much as I do. He is generally up by 6:30 every morning (I could take 7, but that's okay). He naps from 1 until 3, and goes to bed at 7. Every day. Our mornings consist of a run and then snacks and a shower, then errand running (or other fun things like playgroups or library story times). After naptime, he tends to be a bit fussier so we try to limit car seat time by going on walks with Bruno or going to the park. He does very well with this, which makes me very happy. It should be noted that the few times where we have to change that schedule (for traveling or doctor appointments or other events), he has adapted well. We just don't have that many reasons to change anything.

His mood. Oh this is a happy guy. Except when he's not. Most of the time, he's laughing, playing, enjoying life. Of course, that's not always the truth and he can certainly go from happy to insanely mad in eight seconds or less. He's not only able to be happy around us, but often engages strangers (after a little coaxing from me) with his squinty-eyed smile. Just the other day we were leaving an elevator when I told him to give the fellow riders a smile, and BOY did he. The entire elevator-filled with people broke into laughter at the charming boy in front of them. Events like this are common with Rhett. While Rhett definitely has happy and sad moments, I don't think I'd classify him as very intense.

I don't think he's the most distracted child on the planet, nor the least. He can sometimes play with toys for long periods of times, but at other times, he can easily be swayed to bigger and better things.

Rhett seems to be very adaptable. He adapted easily to the loss of the pacifier at nine months, and has no favorite stuffed animal. Every night we let him pick two or three to take to bed, and frequently those items change. I haven't experienced any examples of him being rigid and stuck on only one way to do things. He might start that way, but if I show him another option, he is easily moved.

And if you thought that picture looked familiar, well, give yourself a gold star for being so observant! See the old one here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mama Dada Clean Nose, Yeah

That's how we started Rhett's second birthday: being woken up to Rhett saying, "Mama Dada clean nose, yeah." Awesome, right? It did get better, I promise. Since I'm a bit too tired right now to recount the day's activities, here's the abridged version.

We spent time outside. We've had the loveliest weather recently and Rhett has really enjoyed being out in it. We played with sticks and tree nuts and looked at flowers.

Inside, we played with the dozen balloons Chuck got.

We had "meat, cheese, cracker, cupcake" for the birthday dinner. It's all Rhett's been talking about for weeks, so how could we not?

All of our local family (and Bruno's godmother) were there to tell Rhett much they love him! He even blew out his two candles.

Then, right on time, we read a couple of new books and sent him to bed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pop Quiz

What is Rhett doing in this series of pictures?

A. Catching his breath after a sprint up the stairs.

B. Giving the Pledge of Allegiance.

C. Protecting the sticker that another child stole from his chest. And by protecting, I mean holding onto the sticker for nearly ten minutes. And by holding onto, I mean entirely covering the sticker and not moving the hand at all. For ten minutes. Straight.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Where Were You 10 Years Ago?

We got our census form this afternoon. In no time at all, it was filled out and ready to head back to the "Economics and Statistics Administration"--oooh, sounds so fun!!! I love filling out forms, and this was no different. When Chuck called me at work to let me know it arrived, I had to make sure he didn't start filling it out because I wanted to (to be said in whiny voice). Thankfully he knows me well enough to not even touch it.

I remember when I did this in 2000. I was living in a basement apartment with four girls, just about ready to graduate from college. By the end of the year, I'd traveled to Europe for a month, sat around my parents' house waiting for job offers, and then finally accepted one in D.C. and moved the day after Thanksgiving.

Where were you? And do you mark your lives in Census forms like I do?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Made by e: Finally!

Between all of our church activities this weekend, I was able to get some crafting done. The first of which was this set of reusable grocery bags. Not content to just buy them, but not content with all the plastic I go through, I knew I had to make them (even if it ended up being more expensive that just buying). I came up with these and think they might be enough to help me remember to bring them into the store! And sadly, this house will never see lobster other than that on the bag.

Next up was this shirt for Rhett. It's appropriate for church, right? If not, too late. He already wore it. I added a couple of the shirt in action, just for fun.

And finally, Rhett's Easter basket. I'm not totally happy with the ears as they don't stay up. I'm going to have to work some pipe cleaners or straws or something in there to keep them erect. But otherwise I'm pretty happy with it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who Must Know the Way to Make a Proper Home...Tradition! Tradition!

One of my new years' resolutions for 2010 was to install four new family traditions. Last year's new tradition was a hit: remember Pumpkin Day? That'll be one we continue for years to come; I'm sure of it. But that was last year so it doesn't count towards my quantitative goal of four for 2010.

This year, however, we're starting with Pi Day on Sunday, during which we'll be eating this pie. (Pi Day? March 14? 3/14? 3.14159...? Get it? Embrace your inner nerd!)

In addition, I'd like to start compiling all of our videos that we take during the year into one giant family video for the year. This video will be watched as part of our New Year's Eve Celebration.

Two down; two to go. But now I'm stumped. What are some of your favorite traditions, either as part of a holiday or not? What traditions do you wish you had? Any other ideas for me?

P.S. If you have a second, check out my post on Marathon Mommies and help a runner out!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Also Boring

My sister admitted to being boring and I feel the same way. Nothing that great is happening around here. I have tons of projects on the shelf (reusable grocery bags, Easter basket for Rhett, candy corn banners for Etsy, birthday shirt for the boy), but none is close to completion. We have no great trips planned and the home improvement project (having a window well installed) is on hold until the tax returns come in. Spending the extra money is also on hold until we know just how much money we have once the home improvement project is done.

There is hope on the horizon, however. There is a fun Chinese lion dance we're going to on Saturday. I am hopeful about finishing at least one of my projects within the next week or so. Someone is celebrating his second birthday in 11 days. Spring break is rapidly approaching. And warmer weather is starting to show its face which means possibility for more and more activities. Hopefully one of these will spawn something interesting.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Habitat for Hubanity: a Chandelier Only Rachael will Love

Or maybe even not. I know it's totally crazy and totally different. But still, I'm drawn to it. Ever since I saw it on this blog, I knew I had to have it. (Or maybe that was the snowbound me; either way, we now own it.)

You can see from Beki's blog that it was shipped with some simple cards, some blank and some with little sayings on them. I didn't care for how that looked. And because I'm re-creative and not genuinely creative, I copied what she did with the circles. Since the rest of the room has lots of greens and blues and since I do love geography, I thought I'd cut up old maps and put them on it. And this is what you get.

I like it. It reminds me of this old shell light my parents used to have in their house. It ruffles and moves. It makes the room feel light. It makes me happy.

But now I'm wondering, what else can I do? Tell me!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Another Poll

Let's say that you just came into $5,000. Assuming that your savings accounts are well-stocked, what do you do with it?

A. Take a trip with the kids
B. Take a trip without the kids
C. Redo your kitchen counters
D. Buy a (used) pop-up camper
E. Save it because really, you're just too responsible
F. Other ___________ (Please specify)

You know, hypothetically speaking of course.

P.S. Emily found this ice cream pie recipe and I'm just looking for an excuse to make it. Can anyone give it to me?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Poll Follow-Up

First, Todd, if all Seinfeld episodes is too much, then yes, definitely too much Seinfeld.

Second, the results!

"Oops/opps": Natalie--you crack me up that you spell it opps! I'm pretty sure that your blog is one of the places I've seen it. But please don't feel like you're the sole offender, as I've definitely seen it in other places. It's just that now I don't feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

"Hanging clothes direction": I hang them facing left (as do most of you), but Chuck faces them right. I think that stores do it my way, but I certainly understand Emily and Deanna's reasoning for doing it the other (Chuck has no such excuse). Thankfully this question came from mere curiosity, not an actual husband/wife disagreement. In fact, last night I had him do a demonstration to figure out why and how he hangs it like he does and GET THIS! He takes the jacket in his left hand and the hanger in his right (I'm with him here) but then he sticks the hanger into the left sleeve! Not here, I'm a right sleever. He's weird. But I already knew that, and kind of like it about him.

"Storm Warning v. Storm Watch": Argh! This one makes me mad. I feel (like only three of you!) that a watch is more imminent. I mean, if I'm watching the storm, shouldn't that mean that I'm right in the middle of it? As in, it's right out my window?! Alas, the National Weather Service feels differently than I. I'll live. I'll just have to work hard (a.k.a. "go against my own logical reasoning") to think about the severity of weather when I'm issued the next warning or a watch. Here's hoping that the next is at least nine months away as I'm ready for Spring.

"Tops v. Bottoms": Unlike Amanda and probably others of you, I don't roll mine together (but I do for Chuck's underwear), but rather I fold them and keep them separate. After grabbing a pair from the drawer, I ALWAYS put on bottoms first. I think this has roots in two issues: (1) I like my top half more than my bottom, so the bottom must be covered first. And (2) I think when someone is wearing only a white shirt on top and nothing else, they look like a baby. When we see the other looking like said baby, Chuck and I will always call each other this. In the appropriate "baby" voice, mind you. And Merry? I'm a tucker. I don't like the loosey-goosey-ness of non-tuck.

"Light Bulb Scale": According to Energy Star, the correct order should be soft, bright, day. When we were recently picking out new bulbs for our new chandelier (pics will follow soon), I had it in my mind (like everyone one of you except Todd and Merry--good job guys!) that it should be soft, day, and then bright so we bought what we thought was the middle ground: daylight bulbs. Because, well, bright should be the brightest! Of course, I know now that we were wrong. Actually I knew it the second we installed the light bulbs and turned on the chandelier. However, I definitely can see that daylight should be the ultimate. I'm just not willing to spend an additional $35 just to tone it down a bit. We'll see if I still feel that way in a couple of weeks. Otherwise, we'll wait the 20 years for them to burn out and then replace them with bright lights. Maybe Energy Star should have considered focus groups when they named these. Or maybe my friends and I are just not that smart weird.

Thanks for playing!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Answer Some Deep Questions For Me Please

When you make a mistake, was it an "oops" or an "opps?" And if you agree with me and say "oops," then answer this follow-up question: why do so many people insist on spelling it "opps?"

When you hang up your coats or shirts, which way should they face? That is, which way does the front of the garment face: left or right?

When talking about a winter storm advisory, which seems to be more imminent: a storm warning or a storm watch? (Please answer this question using your intuition, not what you actually know about weather alerts.)

When getting dressed after showering, which goes on first: bottom underwear or top?

Put these light bulbs in order from dimmest to brightest: bright light, daylight, or soft light.

How much do I love this kid? Oh wait, no need to answer. I know this one: a LOT.