Graham Crackers

My little buddy likes to eat.  He’s very good at it, too.  Patrick and I are fully aware that this could change beyond our control at some point in his childhood, but for now, he eats what we eat, which is  just about everything.  And we’re really glad about that.  Peter does have favorites, though.  Cheese, for example.  If there is cheese in front of him with a whole bunch of other things, he will eat the cheese first.  And strawberries (“ba-bre-yays”).  And now that he hangs around with his little buddies at the playground, he has discovered another favorite: graham crackers.  He is really just like a duck begging for food at the park, toddling up to moms saying “kack-kack?” (an efficient word: both for “cracker” and “noise that a duck makes”) as if I never feed him.  Here’s Peter with a “borrowed” graham cracker:IMG_1670

And now, here’s Peter with an empty fist, with a look that means he will perish if that fist is without a cracker for another second:IMG_1671More than once in the past several weeks, I have been in a situation where I did not bring a snack for my child, and he has begged other people (sometimes strangers!) for snacks on the playground.  It is embarrassing.  And if I did bring something for him to eat, it was sooo not as delicious as graham crackers.  Alright, Bud!  I’ll give you graham crackers!  In fact, I’ll MAKE you graham crackers!

IMG_2053IMG_2055These are actually really easy to make, using ingredients you probably already have on hand.  I found the recipe on weelicious.com and made them earlier in the summer for s’mores, cutting the dough into not-so-perfect squares with a pizza cutter.  They were a big hit!  Even without 4 perfect sides, they did the trick.  Yummy and homemade.  I adapted the weelicious recipe just a tiny bit this time:  I had exactly half a cup of all-purpose flour, so I ended up using 2 cups of whole wheat flour.  Because of this, I think, I needed more water for the dough to stick together, so after putting in the called-for 1/4 cup of water, I added one tablespoon more at a time until the dough stopped sticking to the sides and formed a ball.  More whole wheat can’t be bad, right?IMG_2065

I used a cookie cutter for this batch because it was just easier.  I only have Christmas cookie cutters and hearts for Valentine’s Day, so hearts it was!  It’s a perfect size for Peter’s little mitts.  He loooves them, and so do his little friends.  Now I’m that mom with the homemade graham crackers, which makes me chuckle.  But for reals, these are easy.  Here’s the recipe again.  Enjoy!

Sister Visit!

IMG_0238My very lovely little sister came to visit us this past weekend.  She left eaaaarly Monday morning and I am sad.  But when Beth left the car, nobody boo-hooed harder than poor Peter.  We had such a sweet time together!  It was a nice mix of doing tourist-y things and just enjoying her company.  Patrick and Peter even let us get away so Bethie and I could go wedding dress shopping- she is newly engaged!  She left her fiance to see us!  She’s the best!   And she will be a gorgeous bride.  Here’s what we did:

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Laguna Beach!  We went to Crystal Cove at Laguna on Friday morning.  We had fun exploring the tide pools and hiking along the shore, but the waves were a little rough, so we had to keep a close eye on the babe.  And, well.  You already know my feelings about the baby and the beach.  Luckily, Auntie helped deal with the sandy toddler this time!  Peter just loooooves the beach.  As we were leaving, we saw dolphins leaping about just 20 feet from shore!  So cool.  Annnd we stopped at Chick-fil-a for lunch on the way home. Successful lunch=successful day.  That’s my philosophy.

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IMG_1933 IMG_1939 IMG_1950 IMG_1968IMG_0026 IMG_0027 IMG_0241We went to the Getty Museum on Saturday, which is FREE.  Every day!  You do have to pay for parking, but it is so worth it.  It’s huge and beautiful and has amazing views of LA.  Honestly, we mostly chased after Peter outside and in the gardens and enjoyed the views, but we did manage to go through one art exhibit and it was wonderful.  I think we could go back again and again and see something new each time.  Loved it.  And we got to ride a tram!  Peter just seemed a little stunned, but I think one day he’ll enjoy that part.

After the museum ride, we got lunch at In-N-Out Burger.  Now, we had been saving this lunch for a special occasion, such as a sister visiting.  People had been telling us during our whole journey to California that we HAD to go to In-N-Out.  Ok!  The verdict?  It was good, for a fast food burger.  Sorry?!  That’s all I can say about it.  I DID appreciate that they have me extra pickles, and that it was stuffed with fresh lettuce and tomato.  And I also appreciated that it comes with a nice little half sleeve, so you don’t get your hands all greasy.  But still?  It was a fast food burger.  Poor Peter had a banana and a few fries that we threw at him like a seagull.  He seemed pretty happy about it.

Peter almost immediately fell asleep after lunch, so we took the opportunity to drive around and witness Beverly Hills from the safety of our car.  Oh.  My.  Word.  The people who live in Beverly Hills?  And shop in really expensive stores?  And have plastic surgery on their faces?  Why, they actually exist!  Like, the stereotypical people that one might see on TV.  They’re real.  Bethany and Patrick just laughed at me as I stared gawking out the window saying: “These people…. are real?!?!”  It was a very educational experience.

IMG_1993 IMG_2008 IMG_2028 IMG_2032 IMG_1875And we went to the park, ate frozen yogurt and baked treats in our little downtown area, and read a lot of books.  It was a full and happy weekend.  Sisters are the best.  And so are Aunties!  Peter is lucky to have 5 pretty awesome ones.  We miss you, Beth!  Thank you for visiting us.

Illinois, Iowa, and more of my Dutch baby

We made it to Lincoln, Nebraska!  We left Holland yesterday morning and were able to attend our old church in Wheaton and spend time with friends from our college days.  My sweet friend Kaitlin and her new husband Patrick let us crash at their apartment after we had dinner together.  Reality started to set in after we pulled out of Wheaton this morning, traveling further West than I have ever been (besides our flight to visit St. Luke’s in May), venturing into unknown territory.  In the spirit of our journey, we are listening to a short book about Lewis and Clark.   We even made my grandparents watch a National Geographic special on the explorers the night before we left.  We’re dorks.

On the way through Iowa, we stopped in Des Moines for burgers and got to visit with another dear friends, Amedee, and her husband Douggie.  It was a short but special visit, and Amedee quickly became one of Peter’s favorite people when she gave him a bite of bacon.  Of course.  We weren’t able to attend their wedding in April, so it was especially sweet that we got to see them as they were traveling to the East coast, and we just happened to be passing in the middle at the same time.

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Peter snacking in front of the Capitol building in Des Moines

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After our horrendous night in Buffalo, the Country Inn & Suites that we are staying at this evening feels like a palace!!  Seriously.  It’s cozy and clean and no bugs were staring at me when I went to the bathroom.  AND!!!!  We received coupons for free drinks at the restaurant next door.  Yes, please.

To conclude this post, here is what you have all been waiting for: more pictures of my Dutch baby in Holland.  Many of them were taken at Windmill Island, where there were beautiful gardens and an awesome playground.  I also must say again that Peter has been so great on this long trip.  Patrick and I have been constantly amazed by his consistent sweet and happy personality.  He makes us laugh, and he’s actually made the car rides seem a lot shorter.  We love our little boy so much!

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first time in a pool!

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watering flowers at Windmill Island in Holland

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just…. amazing.

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Peter loves pickles, just like his Mama

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Tomorrow, we travel across Nebraska and through Denver, Colorado!

the stinker

One thing that has changed as Peter has started to transition from infant to toddlerhood is his smell.  And I don’t mean the craziness going on in his diapers (it is foul, I tell you!).    I’m talking about that lovely baby scent that makes us sound like cannibals.  The smell that has us talking about “eating” our children, gobbling them up.  I realized quite suddenly that Peter does not smell like that anymore!  Sure, he smells sweet after a bath.  But he’s not generally smelling so delicious anymore.  He’s got more of a “I ate a banana recently” type of smell.  Even if he hasn’t had a banana recently.

It’s one of those revelations that are making me tear up these days… the days before he turns 1.  I’d like to think that I’m getting the crying out of the way before The Birthday arrives, but we’ll see.  I’m an emotional gal.

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That’s the face of a stinker, it is.  He’s cute.  But he kinda smells.

Peter & the Prehistoric Animals

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Several months ago, Patrick and Peter and I were driving in the car.  I don’t know where we were going, and it’s not important to the story.  The radio was on, and suddenly, I heard a voice say something like “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live among the giants of the ice age?” Yes.  Yes, I have! Who are you, and why are you in my brain?!?!  And I turned up the radio.  When I heard the words “mammoths” and “mastodons” I almost peed my pants.  A traveling exhibit at the Boston Science Museum!  “We must go!!!” I shouted at Patrick, tears in my eyes.  I might be kidding about the tears, but my memories a bit foggy.  I wouldn’t put it past me.  But I was already day-dreaming of petting prehistoric beasts (or rather, models of prehistoric beasts), so I don’t remember.

*Side note:  I love ancient things.  And I love large animals.  And so, dinosaurs, mastodons, and mammoths are pretty much my favorite.  I went to a college that had a life-sized model of a mastodon in the center of campus.  And I went there because of the mastodon.  Again, kidding.  But only sort of.  If you know me at all, my emotions regarding the exhibit will not surprise you, but I thought I should explain a bit to everyone else.

We went to the exhibit last month with my parents, and it was pretty amazing.  It’s a traveling exhibit from the field museum, so check it out if it comes to your area!  It was very well done, and I didn’t want to leave.  My family had to wait for me outside the door while I lingered, wistfully staring up into the friendly face of a life-sized mastodon.  I sincerely hope that maybe there will be dinosaurs and mammoths in heaven, but I guess we’ll see.  How awesome would that be, though?!  Anyway, I’m supposed to be talking about my son!  Oh, my son.  He made his mama proud.  He loves dinosaurs.  He climbed right into that dinosaur footprint himself.  Ok, I put him there.  But he loved it.  He loves the ancient creatures!!  We are buds.  Two peas in a pod.  And that’s all I wanted to say.

Peter, 9 Months

Sweet boy, you are 9 months old today.  You have spent about as much time in the world apart from me as you did inside my belly.  It’s pretty unreal.  I remember the day I found out you were on your way as if it were a couple of weeks ago.  And now you are here, bigger than a lentil or a kidney bean or an avocado (we measured your growth by food, you know), with a personality and lots of blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes.  It is a wonder.

Peter-love, you are getting into lots of stuff these days, and your dad and I should really be baby-proofing.  You pull yourself up on everything, and I find you after every nap standing in your sleep sack, gnawing on your crib or just bouncing and babbling with a huge grin on your face.  I can’t help but laugh and smile so big I get tears in my eyes when I pull you out of your crib, you’re so cute.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

Speaking of smiling, you have 6 (very sharp) teeth!  You did bite while nursing for a little while, but it’s gotten to be less (and I am grateful!)  You’ve been so happy getting those teeth too, with no extra fuss.  You’re such a happy baby!  You are now clapping and waving and pointing to Mama’s nose and Daddy’s nose (after we set an example for you), and it’s precious.  We ask you for kisses and you sometimes oblige, although these kisses can sometimes end with a bit of a chomp.  We’re working on it!

You got your first fever this month when we were at Grandma & Pop Pop’s in Baltimore, and it just about broke my heart.  But you still laughed and smiled and were a delight to everyone who got to meet you while we were there.

We finally got a rocking chair for your room, and you will actually sit still and cuddle and read books.  Daddy and I both love spending time like this with you.  I love nursing you there, too, even though you’re almost too big to lay across my lap while I’m sitting in it.  We still tip-toe into your room every single night to gaze at your sweet sleepiness, and whisper about how darn adorable you are.

You light up our lives, darling boy.  I’m so glad I get to be your Mama!   I love you so much.

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Christmas

A Christmas update!  Sorry for the lateness.  But, it’s never too late to enjoy pictures of the little boy, right?  And he is very much a little boy now, and not so much a baby (crying my eyes out right now).  Seriously, he was pulling himself up the earlier in the week, smiling with those 6 goofy teeth of his, bouncy like a crazy, and I looked over at Patrick with tears in my eyes and said “When did we become the parents of a BOY??  Patrick, I’m like, crying right now.”  To which Patrick patiently said, “I know, hon.  I know you are crying.”  Some variation of this conversation happens pretty much every day, with me expressing how emotional I am about Peter growing up and Patrick acknowledging (and laughing at) it.  Anyhow.  CHRISTMAS!

After Peter sleeping through all of Thanksgiving dinner, he was way more fun at Christmas than I expected him to be.  He loved ripping paper off of his presents, and was a good sport about being passed around and smooched and forced to wear a Santa hat during much of the gift-giving.

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Peter tolerating a smooch from Auntie Bethie

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Peter made us a pillow! The wreath was done with his little handprints! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

One of my favorite gifts (besides the sweet pillow from my boy) was a set of knobs for a dresser Patrick and I painted in the fall.  They look awesome.  I will post pictures soon!  Oh, and our MOST favorite and practical gift was a new mattress from Patrick’s parents.  We’ve had it for over a week now and it is SO much better than the free one we’ve been sleeping on since we got married 4 1/2 years ago!  You can’t put a price on a good nights sleep, people.

Peter got a bunch of cute clothes from both sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles, including these hilarious long johns:

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To be honest, not having extra money this year for Christmas this year made me a little bit sad and mopey.  But because of it, there was no mad dash to the mall to get presents, no extra stress.  We had such a sweet time with family, and we loved giving them our homemade gifts that we worked hard on the weeks prior to Christmas (a CD of Christmas songs that we recorded after baby was in bed, framed photos that were taken in the fall by our friend, and “coupons” for dinner at our place… haha!).

A few days after Christmas we drove down to Baltimore to see Patrick’s side of the family and lots of friends.  Patrick and Peter both had fevers during our trip, but we were able to spend some quality time with lots of people that we miss and love dearly, as well as introduce Peter to extended family that he hadn’t met yet.  It was especially joyous to see Peter and his cousin Samara interact and “play” together.  They are both so active, I think most of the pictures I took of them are blurry! IMG_9423 IMG_9451

‘Twas a sweet holiday season, and I’m sad it’s over.  January is rough, man.  Thankfully, the weather has been pretty mild so we’re able to get outside pretty often.  The days are still too short.  However, we’re looking forward to a last-minute visit from my father-in-law and sister-in-law this weekend, who are going to the Ravens-Patriots game on Sunday!  Enjoy the long weekend, everyone!