Friday, June 29, 2012

Road Trippin': Part 1

Day 1:
So the first leg of two day trip went rather well. Grant hasn't been on this trip since he was 5 months old. We were expecting a lot screaming, crying, general unhappiness, and napping (that we anticipated making for a rough night at the hotel). And guess what? It was the complete opposite. Grant had so much fun pointing out trucks, tractors (construction equipment), and motorcycles that he didn't seem to mind the ride at all. He didn't take his first nap until about 3 1/2 hours in to the trip.

Grant woke up just in time for a crappy lunch at Denny's. Actually I guess mine was the only crappy meal. You'd think if it took them 30 minutes to get our food out then my hash browns should have been cooked. Oh well. Lesson learned!

After that we were off again. We had purchased a DVD player for my car thinking we would bust it out as a last resort when Grant became a Holy terror...which he didn't. So I decided to pop in a movie for him during some very slow traffic (like crawling for two hours slow) as a treat. Amazement! He looked like he was torn between enjoyment at the movie and distrust of how a "tee-bee" suddenly appeared in the car.

Our biggest obstacle was finding a hotel for the night. The one we had planned to stop at was full...along with all others in the area. So we had to drive another two hours (ish) to one we finally found that had a room. Another lesson learned. But the extra driving put us in really good shape for the second day of travel.

The hotel ended up being quite nice and comfy. Always a pleasant surprise when you find them in one of those coupon books you find at rest stops (it can really go either way). We had already had dinner so Grant had a snack, bath, we read and it was to bed with us all.

Here's hoping day 2 goes that well!

Day 2:
The second day was slightly frustrating but not as long. We had made it quite far the first day so we took our time knowing how early we were. The frustration came from Grant being stuck in the car again and us not being able to do much about it. The result was an increased use of the new DVD player and stops that were a little bit longer. But we made it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

22 Months

What's this big guy up to?
  • Still around 26 pounds (found this out at a recent appointment for yet another ear infection).
  • Clothes - working into mostly 2T but still has a few 12 month and 18 month stuff that fits comfortably.
  • Shoes - just bought his first pair of size 7's a few weeks ago. Big feet like his Daddy!
  • A tiny bit more adventurous with food but not much. But we're thankful that he'll at least eat chicken now.
  • Repeats everything. We try to be very careful.
  • Still loves trucks. We are anticipating the day that it not longer comes out "fruck".
  • Very independent. And opinionated.
  • Knows the rules but loves to test his limits.
  • Loves to try walking around the house in our shoes.
  • No longer answers "no" to everything. We've discovered that real answers are nice.
  • Watches more TV lately (not thrilled about this). Usually whatever is on Nick Jr. for about half hour in the morning and can generally talk us into 30-45 minutes of Monster Jam in the evening. He has started noticing Disney movies when they're on and will also sit still for Dinosaur Train.
  • Is becoming more able to tell us when something hurts or if he's not feeling well. Bumps are now healed with a kiss :)
  • A few months back I found an article titled 25 Words Every Toddler Should Know by Age 2. Since then I've gone back to the list and am very happy that Grant uses all 25 regularly...and a whole lot more. He's a big talker.
  • Loves to play outside. Will always choose outside over inside. I love that.
  • Favorite playground attraction: the slide. Working his way up to the big boy swings.
  • Big on books. Loves it when Mama reads to him but will go through them on his own too. I'm so happy he's a book lover.
  • No longer sleeps well in our bed (but loves to play on it). Prefers his crib over anywhere else to sleep.
  • Will make us aware when he has to pee (and sometimes poop) and wants to sit on the potty. He just rarely every goes there.
  • I'm pretty sure this child could live on cheese (he totally gets that from me).
  • Says I love you ("I low loo") a lot now. It's awesome.

I'm about to have a sappy-mom-moment. Sorry.

With Grant's 2nd birthday quickly approaching I'm noticing how much he's grown up. Like really grown up. Every day more and more. He is all toddler, I feel certain there is no baby left in him at all. I tend to get very emotional about it but rarely let people see it. Sometimes I still miss that babyness of him. It used to make me sad that he almost never wants to cuddle anymore. But it's taught me to appreciate the times when he does. And now we play. Real playing. The best part? He loves to play with us. I can't get enough of it. You hear so many people say it at so many stages of their kids lives but it's true: he's so much fun right now. But it's really hitting me how much I need to enjoy this because the last two year have flown by. I was watching him climb the slide at the park the other day - by himself, no Mama needed - and I still have no idea how he got to that point so fast. Or when we're in the car and he points out a tractor, if I don't respond quickly he asks "See it? See it?" Wait, what? One morning he leaves for school and by the time he's picked up we're having conversations?

But when I get past my moment's of "What happened to my baby?" I get to see the awesomeness of toddler-hood. It was recently pointed out how dramatic Grant can be. It's probably my fault, I totally encourage that and have probably taught it too him. And I absolutely L-O-V-E his excited screams. I encourage those too. Doesn't everyone want a happy child? Well, I'm lucky. I have one. And watching him experience new things or get excited about the not-so-new...well, it's pretty amazing.

This is probably my last post for at least a week (unless I figure out mobile blogging). We're leaving in a few days on our first real family vacation. I'm so excited!


Just testing out this blogger app while I'm getting ready for vacation. I know one little guy who's ready to go!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shut Up and Kiss Me

When Grant started at his current day care, we found out that there was a little girl in his room (the Waddler Room) with the same birth date as him. Her name is Laney. They pretty much hit it off and became friends - as much as two kids that age can. At some point the day care ladies started calling her Grant's "girlfriend". But they moved her up to the Toddler Room a few months before Grant because she was kind of a bossy pants - a.k.a a bully & biter - and wanted her to be with the bigger kids to maybe help her not do that stuff.

They were reunited when Grant moved up to the Toddler Room too.

Enter, Riley.

Riley became the new day care "girlfriend". We were told that Grant and Riley would go off and play together and then look embarrassed when a teacher called one or both of their names. And their nap mats were next to each other and apparently the two of them would lay there and giggle together until they both fell asleep. How adorable is that?!

It was a short lived romance. When a child in the Toddler Room turns two they are immediately moved into the Two's and Three's Room. And about two weeks ago Riley turned two and got evicted from the Toddler Room...but Laney is still there.

99.9% of Grant's interaction with other kids happens at day care. Where I don't get to see it. But yesterday I got a surprise. And adorable, hysterical surprise. I was picking Grant up in the afternoon and Laney greeted me as I walked through the door. Then she helped me pack up Grant's cups so we could go. That's when she and Grant faced each other and she yelled "Bye bye!" in his face. He had no time to say it back because Laney grabbed Grant by the shoulders, pulled him in, and gave him a big kiss right on the lips! It was too damn adorable. The teacher looked at me like I was going to be mad (sharing germs, maybe? I dunno) but I was laughing and I asked Grant if this was his first kiss from a girl. He actually blushed and made a bee-line for the door saying "Aside? Aside?" which is Grant-speak for wanting to go outside. His embarrassment made the whole thing even cuter.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day 2012

It was really Father's Weekend. We had our Father's Day get-together on Saturday instead of Sunday because my sister-in-law and her boyfriend were in town. So we had the two of them, my father-in-law and his wife over for a cookout (referenced in my previous post about the chocolate cake). I'm sorry to say that I have no pictures from the evening. I spent a lot more time in the kitchen than I did for Mother's Day and in our cleaning-up process the camera got put somewhere and it slipped my mind to get it out. But we all had a great time...especially Grant because he was the center of attention. He's always shy with people at first, but once he realizes that everyone wants to play with him then he's all about it.

Sunday, at Husband's request, we had a very lazy day. After being thrown up on by Grant (because he's sick - again) we pretty much sat around until Grant went down for his nap. Then Husband mowed the lawn and I ran some errands with Grant after he woke up but that was really the most effort that either of us put forth. But sometimes you really just need a lazy day.

Grant and his Daddy (and his new bat and ball from his Grandpa!)

After a very unusual nap #2, Grant remained upright only
long enough to walk from his room to ours so he could
cuddle with Daddy and watch nascar.

Then while Daddy finished watching the race (I'd sooner have
needles in my eyes), I took my little slugger outside
to practice hitting the ball. He may just be the next
Derek Jeter (only much, much cuter)!
I may have mentioned before that Husband is the worst person in the world to buy for. The only things he ever "needs" are clothes - which I've been forbidden to buy for him. And all of his "wants" are expensive enough that he just doesn't tell me - because he knows he won't get them. But for occasions like Father's Day, I think the gifts should be special and/or unique. Last year I got him a key chain with his favorite picture of Grant on it and "Happy First Father's Day 2011" on the back. It broke like a month later. Go me.

But this year, I think I picked a pretty good one. And Grant even helped me with it! Husband is a collector of sports cards and sports memorabilia. So I "made" a baseball with Grant's hand print on it and the date then put "Happy Father's Day" on the side:

 And then I put it in one of those cases so it would look like the real deal:

I think he liked it very much.
I hope that any of the Daddy's who may happen to stumble upon this post had a great Father's Day/Weekend!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Recipe: PW's The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

This is my first Pioneer Woman recipe! I have to say, I'm little jazzed about that. I always see her recipes and think "It would take me all day to make that AND it would probably taste like poop". I stumbled across this post from her blog on Friday while searching for a dessert recipe for our Father's Day cookout on Saturday. I wanted something kind of simple since we were just having burgers and grilled chicken but I also wanted it to be super yummy. 

And it was yummy! Also much easier than I had worked it up in my head to be. I managed to knock out the cake in an hour or less while a crazy toddler was running through my kitchen. And no one was harmed in the process. I think I can call that a success.

I'm going to post a link to Pioneer Woman's post. She took step-by-step pictures and I didn't have time. Also, she has the printable version of her recipe.

My little helper. He wanted very badly to get at my
mixing he had to have one of his own. Later
on, some Goldfish crackers found their way in
there and he really enjoyed that :)

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

For the cake:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 whole beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 3/4 sticks butter
  • 4 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound (minus 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  • In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
  • Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture and stir lightly to cool
  • In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into ungreased sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
  • While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.
  • Cut into squares, eat, and totally wig out over the fact that you've just made the best chocolate sheet cake. Ever.
Recipe Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks! (Seriously, check out her recipes. Yum!)

You wanna bite right now, don't you?
  • She said she used a 18"x13"x1" jelly roll/sheet cake pan. I used a 17"x12"x1" pan. I wouldn't use anything smaller than that.
  • If you check out her post, she said to use an ungreased pan. So I didn't grease it (even though I usually do it anyway). No sticking! I wonder if it has anything to do with the almost whole pound of butter in the recipe?
  • I upped the pecans to one cup. We're a pecan-lovin' bunch.
  • I don't know that I can say it was best chocolate cake ever, but it was pretty damn good. And easy to be from scratch.
  • I ate a piece while working on this post and it's still pretty damn good :)
Now that I've gotten over my initial fear of Pioneer Woman's recipes, I'm dying to try more! I'll definitely be sharing if I do.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mohawk: FAIL

A month ago - maybe more - I saw a Living Social deal for a website that does birthday invitations and what-not. It was a good deal so I bought it thinking that if they didn't have an invitation that suited Grant's birthday party then I could always use it for Christmas cards.


The voucher expires in July - like next month - so Christmas cards were out. Grant is, of course, having a monster truck birthday party this year and while this website offered many adorable birthday invitation options...I got the impression that they design these things for the kind of kids who don't actually get dirty (let alone the kind of kid who learns to say "Grave Digger" before learning to tell his Mama that he loves her). So I set out to turn an invitation into a monster truck theme by taking pictures of Grant with his big Grave Digger and a couple other hot wheels trucks he has.

And I had the brilliant idea of giving him a mohawk. In my head it was hysterical...and adorable. But when I actually attempted it...well...

His hair is way too long for this
type of shenanigans.

 I really should have seen it coming. If you know me in real life and see my hair on a regular basis then you know that I shouldn't be allowed within 50 feet of anyone elses's hair. But I tried it anyway and learned that mousse does not make a happy mohawk. And having his hair played with every five seconds does not make a happy Grant.

I ended up trying to tame the crazy hair a bit and skipped the mohawk entirely. It may have worked if I had the right gel...and actually got Grant's hair cut on a normal schedule. But anyway, I did manage to get some cute pictures after I came to my senses. And some day Grant will probably find the above pictures and say "What the #%&* was she thinking?!" 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Funday

It may be late...but it's still Monday.

This is an actual text conversation between my sister and I. I need to point out that she is at work during this conversation.

I think at this point I told her she should go get some work done. She replied no, that she was "sitting outside getting some sun". Then sent me a picture of what a nice day it was.

I'm still not sure how she made it through the day without a nap.

Side Note: You couldn't pay me enough to do my sister's job. And...I'm actually putting this in writing...she's really good at it. My sister works at a daytime care facility for mentally challenged adults. It is, she put it, "not always berries and pancakes" (I informed her that I do not consider berries and pancakes a good thing) so she tends to enjoy the easier days. I just couldn't resist picking on her about how ridiculous this particular day seemed to be :) 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

No Sew Blanket

I like to think I'm crafty. I'm into DIY. Maybe not as much as some, but I like it. Husband may dispute my claim on craftiness considering there are some unfinished yet to be completed projects strewn about the house. But I have finished some stuff too.

This post is about my unintended craft.

I have lots of weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is craft stores. I don't know what happens to me when I walk through those doors but I never leave one without buying something. Sometimes I need it. Sometimes those doors shut behind me and I look in my bag wondering "What am I going to make with that?". I really need a chaperon. On Monday (after our photo shoot with Elizabeth) I stopped at JoAnn Fabric. I went in for floral pins and pipe cleaners. Do you know what I left with? Pipe cleaners, two sheets of scrapbook paper (they have a purpose!)...and stuff to make a blanket. Let me explain because, you know what? When you get done reading this, you're gonna want to make one too.

One of my most used baby gifts is a blanket made by my cousin's wife, Melanie. She made Grant this adorable fleece blanket with a monkey pattern on it (referred to as The Monkey Blanket). To this day it is one of only three blankets he will sleep with. Typically the blanket stays at day care and comes home on Friday's to be washed.

Grant sleeping with The Monkey Blanket (4 months old)
I've noticed in the past few months how much smaller the other two blankets look that Grant has been sleeping with. But when I try bigger ones, he cries until he gets his other blankets. So I made a mental note at some point to check out fleece to possibly make a bigger version of the blanket Melanie made for him.

Flash forward to my trip to JoAnn Fabric. Grant is in the cart and I see a huge section of fleece. I grab a bolt of fleece and say out loud "Oooh what's this?" I hear Grant gasp really hard. I look up and he is pointing at the fabric, mouth hanging open, not breathing. The fleece was monster truck print. It's like they knew I was coming.

So here's what you need:

I laid a sheet down on my living room floor to work on
this blanket so it wouldn't be covered in dog hair
before Grant ever got to use it.
 A pair of really good scissors (Warning: if your scissors kinda suck, you will regret starting this project less than half-way through!)
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Two coordinating pieces of any fleece
                   - for a baby or toddler, buy 1 to 1 1/2 yards (in each of the two fabrics)
                   - for a child, buy 1 3/4 yards (in each of the two fabrics)
                   - for a teen or adult, buy 2 yards or more (in each of the two fabrics)

Most of these directions are copied directly from my instructions. Please note that any comments in red are from me and not the instructions :) Also, for Grant's blanket, I used 1 yard of each fabric. So for a baby blanket, I would think 1/2 yard of each would be perfect. But what do I know, this was my first blanket. 

And here is what you do:

1. Cut off the rough selvage edge on both sides. (This is the side that is machine finished, not cut. I only knew what they meant by this because mine said Made exclusively for Joann Fabrics alone one side.) Trim only as much as necessary, usually not more than 2 inches on each side. At this point, make sure that your cut sides are relatively straight. (They don't have to be perfect!) Do this on each piece of fabric.

2. Lay your fleece wrong sides together, with edges matching up (do this as best you can, mine did not lay perfectly together and when I finished you couldn't tell). Often times with fleece it's hard to tell which side is the wrong side and it often doesn't matter which side you use as the front or back.

3. Cut a 4x4" square (or a 5x5" square for longer fringe) - I did 3 1/2" for Grant's - out of each corner (through both layers of fleece) and discard. If you want longer fringe (not recommended for a baby or toddler), make your square bigger. It really does help to cut out your square from each corner before proceeding.

4. Cut all 4" (or 5" - or 3 1/2" like I did) strips into fleece at 1" intervals around all four sides.

You start cutting and you think "Cool, I'm making a blanket!"

You keep cutting and you think "I may never finish this."

Then you're all done cutting and you think "Holy crap, it's only half finished."
Then you tie over hand knots close to the blanket edge by using one strip from the front and one strip from the back to create the finished fringe edge. Repeat around all four sides. Then sit back and pat your crafty self on the back. You just made a blanket.

Tying the knots.
OMG it's done!

 Showing both sides. I love how they look together!

 Notes/Suggestions from the instructions:
  • To help make your strips approximately 1" wide (again, it doesn't have to be perfect), you can use a tape measure across the top of your four inch section so that you not only make your cuts about 1" apart but also only four inches deep.
  • To make the tying look more even, tie every other one, all the way around the blanket then flip the blanket over to tie the rest. That way neither side is really the front or the back.
  • Experiment with the way you tie the knots for different looks. You can make the knot show in either fabric as well as the fringe in either fabric. This one made no sense to me but I figured I'd include it in case it makes sense to any of you craftier people.
  • The nature of fleece makes two of the sides stretchy. Don't fear! Just be gentle when tying those sides (the selvage sides) so that your fringe isn't stretched out of shape. the knots do have to be tight to remain tied and keep the blanket together.
Notes/Suggestions from me:
  • I totally didn't read far enough in the instructions to get to the above notes or I would have done the flipping thing. I started with the corners (just because it made sense in my head) and worked my way around. Sometimes I skipped around because I thought if I crouched in one spot for too much longer I would, in fact, die like that.
  • My blanket is a bit of an awkward shape - long and skinny. That was unintentional but has worked out great because it perfectly fits in his crib, which is where I was planning to use it most anyway.
  • Melanie's blanket (very first picture in the post) has a solid "back" which made the fringe stand out more. Because of the fabrics I used, the fringe kind of blends in. So I guess if you want that part to stand out more, don't use two busy fabrics like I did.
  • I started this blanket with scissors that I thought were really good. Guess what? I was so wrong. Make sure you have good scissors. Buy a new pair if you have to. You'll be happy you did.
  • If you have any questions or something doesn't make sense, let me know. If I don't know the answer to the question, I can find out for you :)
Reading I love trucks and happily enjoying his new blanket made by Mama :)

Friday, June 1, 2012


At approximately 6:45 this morning, we entered a new Toddler Phase. It was very unexpected. I figured Grant was too young to start this.

It happened when Grant picked up a dryer sheet off the bedroom floor that was laying next to a pile of laundry I haven't had time made time to fold yet. He held it up to me and said "Eeeeeew" Something he says a lot (especially about the dog).

I said, "Ok, give it to me. I'll throw it out."

"Why?" Grant asked.

I thought nothing of it. "Because it's trash", I replied.

"Why?" *queue the menacing music*

"Because...when something is trash, you throw it away."


At this point I hear Husband's voice from the computer room "Oh no!".

And so we have entered The Why Stage. It literally happened over night.

Wish us luck.
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