Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Slippery Slope

I have a habit of indulging my child's fearlessness, much to Husband's dismay. Mostly when it's a Mommy & Grant trip to the park rather than a family trip to the park. I have said before that of the two of us, Husband is most definitely the worrier. I tend to let Grant explore and figure out what he can do - although I'm always right there with him.There are two parks we frequent and they're right across the street from each other, which is really convenient.

On Sunday, to take picture for Grant's 19 month update, he and I went to White Deer Park in Garner. There whey have what I refer to as "the really big slide". It's bigger than your standard park slide. It goes down a hill and then has a set of wooden steps going back up. Grant loves to slide. I think it's his favorite park attraction at the moment. And because Sunday was on and off rainy, the park - and "the really big slide" - was pretty empty. So I did it. I let him go for it - partly because Husband was not there to say "You need to go down with him!".

When I set Grant at the top of slide, excitement was just oozing out of him. So I told him to stay put and then I bolted down the hill. When I was at the bottom I told him to come on. He pushed off and down he came. I don't think anything could have wiped the grin off his face. Then he'd scoot himself off the slide and run back up the hill (completely ignoring the stairs) for more.

I let him go down a few more times, but there were some older kids hanging around to play on it and I didn't want Grant to get trampled. But hopefully we'll get back there this weekend and he'll get some more slide time. I think I might have to ride with him a time or looked like he was having an awful lot of fun!

FYI: For anyone as concerned as Husband was when I showed him the pictures, he was perfectly safe on the slide by himself. It is not a steep slide and the bottom has a long area to slow down. He did not come anywhere close (and probably couldn't even gain the amount of speed needed) to falling off the end of the slide.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Recipe: Louis Osteen's Pimiento Cheese

I knew nothing of pimiento cheese before my move south. And even then I kept away from it for years because...well, it just didn't sound good. My first taste of pimiento cheese came by way of a sandwich from The Square Rabbit and I was hooked. And since they are located in downtown Raleigh and I happen to work in downtown Raleigh...I have enjoyed many a yummy lunch from there! And after Husband informed me that he had never had homemade pimiento cheese, I had to bring him home the good stuff (which they sell by the 1/2 or whole pint). He reminds me every so often that I can bring some home any time.

So, having planted southern roots (ish) I have subscribed to Southern Living - which is usually a rather depressing magazine. More depressing than Martha Stewart Living. They're both like "Hey, look at how pretty your house could be and how yummy your meals could be if you'd stop being lazy!" But anyway, one issue of Southern Living came that made the whole subscription worth it. It was loaded with a bunch of pimiento cheese recipes! So I decided to try this one over the weekend.

Here's what you need:

Mix up everything in an electric mixer EXCEPT the pimientos:

Mix until blended but not smooth. Then add the pimientos:

Then mix in the pimientos until the mixture is blended and somewhat smooth.

Then smear it on top of anything edible and enjoy!

Louis Osteen's Pimiento Cheese
  • 6 cups freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese (1 1/2 lb.)
  • 1/2 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon grated yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (7 oz.) jar whole peeled pimiento, drained and cut into fourths
Garnish: freshly ground pepper, if desired

Beat Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, yellow onion, and ground red pepper with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes or until blended but not smooth. Add pimiento; beat 1 to 2 minutes or until pimiento is shredded and mixture is blended and somewhat smooth. Garnish, if desired.

Recipe Source: Southern Living Magazine

  • I only used a 1/2 teaspoon of the ground red pepper and then added another little sprinkle. That was more than enough "kick" for me and even Husband agreed that it had an over-all strong flavor. I would maybe cut back some on the onion next time too.
  • Instead of the 7 oz. jar of whole peeled pimiento, I used a 4 oz. jar of diced pimientos. I blame that on my decision to "skim" the directions instead of reading them thoroughly before heading into the store. But what I bought ended up working out great and seemed like enough pimiento in my cheese.
  • This recipe makes a LOT. Be prepared to eat pimiento cheese for days. Which, in our house, will never be a problem.
  • Grant didn't like it. But he did like that he was in the kitchen while I was grating the cheese. He kept gesturing wildy saying "sheese? sheese? SHEESE!" until I hacked off a chunk and gave it to him. He is so his mother's son :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

19 Months

Here we are, another month older. It's so funny how much a month can change things. It seems like every time I turn around Grant seems bigger and is doing so much more than he was even last week, let alone last month.

Grant has had a haircut - finally! You would think the first one would be the worst...not so much. They seem to get worse as he gets older. This time Grant screamed like we had taken him to the doctor for shots. But at least it was quick. I feel certain this girl has done many hair cuts for kids!

Grant is talking more than ever, of course. Putting more words together. And the best part is that we're understanding him more and when he makes the connection that we are understanding what he's saying and what he wants (not that he always gets what he wants) he gets this huge smile on his face. It seems silly to say, but it's kind of amazing. We figured out that he's learning sign language at school. We figured this out after a week of Grant making this hand gesture and saying something that sounds like "mo", so I told Husband that I though he was saying and signing "more". We finally googled it and that's exactly what he was doing. And when I did it back to him and said "More?" (probably more graham cracker or something) he laughed at me and looked so proud that I understood him. So Husband and I are going to make an effort to learn some basic sign language.

So, a rather silly but big accomplishment...Grant is now eating chicken! Seems like such a small step, doesn't it? But it's kinda huge. I used to have to hide meat in meals in hopes that Grant won't realize what he's eating and spit it out. And then recently out of the blue - he ate a chicken tender! And then chicken nuggets! And even ate some of a chicken sandwich I was eating! I'm pretty excited about case it wasn't obvious.

I had to break into the boxes of last year's clothes so that Grant would have stuff to wear that fits him. Sad, yes? We bought him a bunch of new shorts - size 18 months - and a bunch of new shirts - size 24 months/2T - and do you know what? The shirts fit pretty well, they're a touch long but it won't stay that way long. But the shorts literally fall to the floor. They don't even touch his waist when I put them on him. He is just so skinny. Bonus: I get extra life out of last year's clothes AND I already know how cute they look on him :)

It seems like as babies grown into toddlers they become less cuddly. Less willing to sit still for a few minutes - giving you the opportunity to grab them and squeeze them just for being cute. And obviously, their tantrums become worse - although Grant's don't seem as bad yet as some of the stories I've heard - landing them in time out more often. But it seems to be balanced out lately by the big hugs I get when I ask for them. Or the big open mouth kisses that are pretty much the sweetest thing ever. And sometimes, he'll go get a book and then come plop himself in my lap - which I love. Sometimes he wants me to read to him, sometimes he just wants to browse through it and say "Wha's at?" I can't miss him being a baby anymore...because he's just so damn fun right now!

P.S.: Grant is still very much obsessed with trucks - mostly monster trucks. We've decided to take him to Monster Jam in a couple weeks. I can't wait to see his reaction when he sees the "big trucks" in person!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Great Lego Clean-Up

Back in October we took Grant to the Lego KidsFest in downtown Raleigh where not only Grant had a good time...but, being an overgrown child, I did as well. That was when we decided Grant would be getting Legos for Christmas. And did he ever. A big box from us and a big box from my sister. And when Grant decides to play with them, our living room looks like a Lego factory exploded there. And there is no telling how many of those things are currently residing underneath our living room furniture.

Lately, Grant's favorite thing to do with his Legos is build them up in a tower to see how big he can get it before it falls down. At a certain point, he likes to get his Daddy to help. So Daddy builds the tower really high and Grant stands there literally squealing with excitement.

We hear a lot from day care that Grant is very helpful with cleaning up. He puts his toys back and cleans up his place when he eats. And we see a little bit of that at home...and really need to enforce it a little more (although he does love to help with the dishes - woohoo!). So last night I wanted the Legos cleaned up. Husband and I gathered the Legos up and Grant pushed the box between the two of us - like a game - so we could get everything off the floor. And then for some reason...he thought it would be funny...

To climb in and sit in the Lego box. Seriously, have you ever stepped on a Lego? Looking at that picture of him makes my feet hurt. And he thought it was hysterical! He kept looking at us and laughing like a crazy person!

He did tip over once...which really set back the Lego clean up. But once we righted the box and re-began clean up - he got in there again! And got stuck. So we put the box up before trying to clean up anymore. But that didn't stop Grant either.

You know what? There are 400 Legos scattered around my living room floor. I gave up. We need a better box for them anyway.

P.S. I'm well aware that it seems as if my child either doesn't own or just never wears pants. Please refer to this post. I happen to think a baby/toddler in a diaper is just about the cutest thing ever. So there!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First Time Out

At Grant's 18 month check-up the doctor went over behavioral stuff with us. She asked if he was testing us yet - which of course he is. Hello, he has been for months! She told us that this is a good age to start "time out". So just how do you put a year-and-a-half old toddler in time out? Yes, doc, do tell. 

She said you put them on a stool or in a chair. Somewhere solitary and "not fun". If it seems like they will try to get up, then you sit there in front of them (emotionless, of course!) and make them stay there. Set a timer for 1 minute. When that's up, then the slate is wiped clean and you - apparently - are no longer mad. If he keeps it up, you keep doing "time out". Yes...uh huh...we'll see.

That was February 28th and I've been wondering at what point I'm going to implement the whole "time out" thing. I'll admit, I've never really believed in time out. Perhaps that's because I always got a firm hand on my backside and that pretty much did the trick. BUT, Grant really isn't old enough to get all the spankings he may deserve. So perhaps there would be "time out" in his future.

And there was. Last night was our first ever one minute "time out". Grant had a rough day. He was running in the house that morning, fell, and took a nose dive into the step from our living room to our hallway. Big nose bleed and fat lip. Lingering pitifulness all day long. He came home knowing he could milk it. It was a gorgeous afternoon, so I took his pitiful face for a good walk around the neighborhood and then we came home and ate dinner. Then he wanted to color. He wandered off with his crayons and in a few seconds time had managed to color a rather large area of my kitchen floor (thank goodness for washable crayons!). I took his crayons and popped his butt. I told him no, we only color on the paper (he does know what that means). And then we proceeded to a chair for time out. He was already crying and even more pitiful. But I set a timer for one minute and sat there stone-faced as he cried - and he was really trying to work it too.

The timer I set may have been on my phone. So I may
have snapped this picture. He looks sorry, doesn't he?
The minute was up and, per doctor's orders, the slate was wiped clean. After a whole 60 seconds of staring at the face in the above picture, I really wasn't mad anymore. Could you be? He was a little bit pissy for the rest of the night (until story time) but when he went back to his crayons later, he never strayed from the paper. Not really convinced it was the time out that did it but I guess I'll try it again. Probably tonight and for who knows what reason!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

18 Months - Pictures

Since I kind of had to scrounge for pictures for my 18 Month update, I told myself that if Grant's nose was getting better this weekend that I would make an attempt to get some better pictures.

I tried.

I didn't necessarily succeed.

I used the wagon because I was attempting to use it as a point of reference. It was about this time last year that my dear friend Elizabeth took these 6 month pictures of Grant and we used the wagon for a few of those as well. I definitely didn't get any pictures as good as she did...and I think Grant was rather irritated that the wagon was sitting still.

He looks very excited, doesn't he?

This one made me laugh. Not sure what he was doing but
I thought it was a very Indiana Jones pose.

He finally smiled a little and I was totally unprepared!

Always willing to answer the question: Grant, where's your belly?
I probably should have taken him somewhere rather than trying to do it around the house. He's much more cooperative in an unfamiliar setting and usually more willing to look at me. In our yard he's more interested in the "oof" (dog) next door or he's busy pointing and asking "Wha's at?" I eventually gave up and took him for a ride in the wagon.

Definitely on the agenda for the coming weekend: a haircut for Grant.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Technological Toddler

When I was growing up, telephones had cords. Really long ones. Like, so long that you could walk from one room to another (which was annoying to my mother because our phone was in the kitchen). We didn't have a computer. Televisions were big huge boxes and you had to get up to turn the channel.

Now it's 2012. And I no longer have a telephone. I have a tiny (sometimes annoying) computer that carry around in my purse. Last year, Husband and I got our first smart phones. IPhone. They are evil inventions. Before I had an iPhone, I was never the kind of person who'd carry my phone everywhere (or freak out if I accidentally left it at home). And I almost never had my phone out on the table at a restaurant. I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. Because while it sometimes does stuff that makes me say I hate it...I use it for everything.

You know who really loves my phone? Grant. I spent months and months taking my phone away from him. Telling him no and then hiding it from him. But one day it hit me, he's growing up with it so there's no hiding it from him. So I browsed for toddler-appropriate apps. I was A-mazed by how many there are. I found some Fisher Prices apps, one for learning to draw the ABC's, and one for just random doodling. Recently, I picked up a free Dora the Explorer app download at Starbucks (thanks Elizabeth for pointing it out to me!) which is another ABC helper.

I think Grant's favorite right now is one of the Fisher Price apps for shapes & colors. It seems to be the most interactive of the Fisher Price ones. There are two "levels" and level 2 has a little piano and the shapes sing and dance when you touch one. The all usually break into song at some point and when Grant gets done swaying back and forth to their tune, he puts down the phone long enough to clap then quick grabs it back up in case I'm going to try to snatch it from him.

Quit judging, I'm well aware of how badly he needs a hair cut.

Now to invest in a more protective case for my phone!

In case anyone is curious, these are the apps I use: Fisher Price Shapes & Colors, Fisher Price Where's Puppy, Fisher Price Let's Count, Fisher Price Animals, Doodle Buddy, ABC Tracing, and Dora's Skywriting ABC's (free download from Starbucks). All free. I don't know how to link here from the iTunes store but I'm sure you'll find them if you just search them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

18 Months

I've been putting this post off for lack of decent pictures. I was going to try to take some Sunday (when Grant actually "turned" 18 months old) but guess what? He's sick. Again. And it won't make for pretty pictures. He's got this really nasty nose thing that's going around day care and the poor child basically has a constant bloody nose. It doesn't photograph well. Perhaps this weekend I'll get some better ones. For now, you'll have to deal with some random shots from the past month.

Taken one morning while lounging in Mama & Daddy's bed
Grant had his 18 month check-up on Tuesday. He weighs 22 pounds 10 ounces (I promise we do feed him) and he's 32 1/2 inches tall. Long and lean, as the doctor put it. The best part of that whole appointment was knowing that Grant got his last shot until he's about 4 or so...yay! I'm sure he'll still hate it when we go there, but at least they won't be giving him extra reasons to hate it.

The doctor asked if Grant was saying at least three words and we both laughed because he's talking like crazy. She called him an over-achiever when I started telling her all the words he says and she put down that he has "a large vocabulary". It really seems like he knows a new word or two every day. The change in his talking from last month to this month is that he's using more than one word at a time, which is sooo cute. "All gone" when his bowl is empty. "What's that?" when he points to something. He's also associating sounds with animals. "Oof" for a dog, "Ba" for a sheep, "Woooar" for a dinosaur, and he doesn't quack yet but if you ask him what a duck says he squats down and makes wings with his arms. Cuteness :)

Grant is wide open almost all the time now. He's learning to throw quite well so if he has something that he's not supposed to and you ask him for it...he'll likely throw it at you. We're trying to discourage it (especially when it's a wooden block or one of his hard plastic toys) but he seems quite proud of it and perhaps thinks we're kidding when we tell him "no". He's still loves his books and his truck toys but is very much into coloring books and [apparently tasty] crayons.

 The doctor said we need to just go cold turkey with the pacifier. Which I'm kind of ok with but just not right now. Between the nose thing he has and he's teething...well, one thing at a time. Grant seems to be easing himself into getting rid of it too. He'll give it to us when we ask for it (most of the time) and will even take it out himself and leave it somewhere. My goal is for him to be rid of it by two years old but I'd really like it to be before then.

So that's my big update. At the doctor's suggestion, we may attempt potty training soon. She said that because of some of the stuff he's doing that he may be ready. So that may be a pretty big step coming up soon. But for now, our focus is being paci-free and also getting rid of this nasty nose thing. And a haircut - Grant's hair is out of control! Hopefully, this weekend we can get Grant a haircut and maybe he will look less like he's been in a bar brawl and I'll be able to get some good pictures of him.

Chillin with some snacks and coloring
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