November 30, 2010

out and about

Although I'm not crazy enough to go out on "Black Friday," I always find that I am ready for a little shopping by the end of the Thanksgiving weekend. It's almost as if the food and fellowship inspire me to locate, purchase, and bestow gifts on those I love ...

Funny little trick, those holidays being so close together!

Last year around this time (as mentioned in a previous post), Malcolm was a lumpy little guy, more than happy to be pushed around in his stroller as he slept the day away. This year, he's more boy than baby and wants to see (and touch and taste) everything! This can, obviously, be a challenge when all you know is that you want to shop, but have no idea what you are looking for.

But, no matter how whiny or upset he may get at being unable to roam the store on his knees, at least he can look cute doing it ...

Here he is hamming it up back at home after a near meltdown in Target:

Sweater: Gymboree (thrifted for $3.00)
Pants: The Children's Place (thrifted for $1.50)
Socks (unseen): Circo (gift)
Shoes (unseen): Faded Glory (thrifted for $3.00)

My how looks can be deceiving!

I guess the alligator on his sweater reminded him of how affective "crocodile tears" can sometimes be ...

This is going to be an interesting holiday season!

November 29, 2010

spicing things up

Both my husband and I enjoy a good "burrito bol" from Chipotle.

One night, while cruising the internet, I decided to see if there was a knock-off recipe that we could try at home. Always one to save a little money (and do things myself!), I was happy to find a really good one that I adapted to our liking. While it isn't exactly the same, our modified recipe uses ingredients that are easier to find at the grocery store (or so says my husband who does all the shopping) and tastes really similar!

Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

For the Marinade:

1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of dry oregano
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 of a red onion
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

Combine all marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until well combined. Pour into a large plastic zip-lock bag, add chicken (we use 2-3 breasts which yields one dinner's worth and some left overs), and marinate in the refrigerator overnight ...

It will look a little something like this:

Cook the chicken.

In the summer, we use our grill ... But on cold, wintery nights, the griddle pan works just as well!

You can almost hear the sizzle!

Cook the rice (we double the following recipe ... We like our rice).

Cilantro-lime Rice:

1 teaspoon of butter
2/3 cup of white rice (NOT instant)
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 lime
2 teaspoons of fresh cilantro, chopped

Begin by heating the butter in a medium sized pot until it is melted. Then add the rice and lime and stir about a minute. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the rice has absorbed all the water, about 15-20 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking and scorching.

As the chicken and rice are cooking, prepare the toppings ... We typically rinse and heat a can of black beans, pull out some shredded cheese (Mexican blend), fresh tomato salsa or Picante sauce, lettuce, and sour cream. We've also mashed up some avocados for guacamole in the past ... Basically, it's up to you and what you like on your "burrito bol!"

Eat and enjoy ... It makes me hungry just looking at it again!

Side note: Even babies like "fake Chipotle burrito bols" for dinner ... Malcolm is a big fan of the rice and black beans (and the chicken that hasn't come into contact with too much spice)!

November 25, 2010

so incredibly thankful

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I can't help but think of how far we've come since last year ...

We have gone from nervous new parents to seasoned pros!

Our cuddly, little baby of only one year ago has grown leaps and bounds and turned into a squirmy always-on-the-go (almost) toddler ... Right before our eyes!

While I look back at photographs (like the one above) and yearn to cuddle him in the rocker again, or soothe him to sleep at night, I also realize just how blessed we are to have him at all ... How blessed we are to have each other.

As a family, we have so little to complain about ...

We have our jobs.

We have our health.

We have our home.

We have our extended families.

We have our friends.

We have so many comforts and good things to look forward to ...

We are truly, truly blessed, and there isn't a moment that passes where I am not keenly aware of that fact.

I don't know what I did to deserve this life, but I am so thankful that I am getting the chance to live it!

November 24, 2010

waiting for words

For as long as he could make noise, I've been waiting for my little man to speak.

In many ways, I'm more excited for the moment he utters his first word than the moment he decides to make walking his sole mode of transportation.

I guess it all boils down to the fact that I want my son to inherit my braininess. I want him to do well in school, to take honors classes, to achieve high marks ... Maybe even become valedictorian (something I never got to do). I want him to be a thinker, to have the ability to problem solve rather than look for the easy way out. I want him to love learning, to get excited for the start of school each fall, to read because it's fun (and not because he has to). I don't want him to be one of those "Huh? What?" teenagers that just sits and stares off into space without a thought in his head.

While I'm probably setting myself up for (at least some) disappointment ... "Being smart" is not necessarily a conscious choice ... I know that Malcolm will become whoever he is meant to be and I will love him all the same.

Even so, as a mother, I feel that the milestones that directly impact this "smartness factor" that I so desire for my son are those that deal with language (and not more overtly physical things like walking or climbing or jumping). And, while my boy seems to know and respond to multiple words (hair, nose, feet, shirt, owl, bear, duck, blanket, up, milk, crackers, more ...), he just hasn't opened his mouth to say any just yet.

Sure, there are lots of "ma ma mas" when he is upset. Or "da da das" when he mutters to himself as he goes about his business each day. There are even grunts and squeals and squeaks to alert me to various changes in mood.

But there aren't any real words.

Oh, how I'm waiting for those real words!

One of my close friends recently said to me: "He'll probably start spouting out complete sentences one day."

Which would certainly be fine ...

But I'd still be happy with that single word.

Just one word to get me going ... To keep my dream of smart progeny alive.

But, like I said, Malcolm is Malcolm.

He is not me.

He is not his father.

He will ultimately be who he is meant to be and I will love him for it.

Smartness aside, I just can't wait to hear his little voice call my name!

November 23, 2010

when dad picks the outfit

The weekend (and Monday) flew right by. I barely had a moment to think, let alone sit down and compose a coherent blog post. It's really a shame, too, because this Sunday marked the completion of my husband's twenty-ninth year of life!

Happy birthday, Honey!

As part of my gift to him (Ha!), he was left with baby duty on Saturday morning. Since our Friday night had been hectic, Malcolm was put to bed before I had a chance to lay out the next day's clothes. Although I know my husband is quite capable of dressing himself, and therefore his son, I was curious to come home and see what he had come up with ...

The sweat pants may have been too long and the shirt a tad too tight, but the overall look was still cute and comfortable.

But the best part was that Malcolm slept for nearly three hours that afternoon ... I credit the warm, cozy pants!

Onesie: Old Navy (gift)
Sweat pants: Athletic Works (thrifted for $1.50)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)

There's something to be said for an outfit that is all about comfort!

Three hour naps certainly aren't a bad thing!

November 19, 2010

my little love dove

There are so many things that I want to remember about Malcolm's "babyhood."

(And, yes, I still consider this time of our life to be part of it ...)

If I'm being completely honest, the super-detailed notes and descriptions of events in his baby book are more for me, than for him. I know that as time stretches on he is going to change and things that happen today, won't happen anymore. Besides, I'm a scientist by nature and we are known for our meticulous notes!

Anyway, one of my favorite things that he currently does is "give kisses."

It all started months and months ago with soft things. No matter what the object or where he was, Malcolm would pop the thumb in his mouth and lean in for a snuggle the moment there was contact ... A fuzzy pillow, a stuffed animal, a cuddly sweater, his spotted blanket. It would happen every time.

It still happens.

It's totally adorable!

Then the leaning in for a snuggle carried over toward other things ... Usually pictures in books. If a character in a book was cuddling or sleeping, he'd lean in to kiss it without any prompting. Of course, if you asked him to "give the puppy a kiss," he'd do that, too. Much to his mother's delight!

Now, he gives us "kisses." All you have to do is ask and his whole demeanor changes. If he is being crazy, he calms down and his little face slowly gets closer to your own. There is no lip puckering, no actual "kissing" as you might recognize it, but he comes in all the same ... His little forehead resting against yours.

It gets me every time!

I know that, someday, he will resist my kisses (probably push me away before I can get within a good kissing distance) and be embarrassed to be seen with me ... But, for now, I can get all the kisses I want!

And I have the notes in the baby book to prove it.

November 18, 2010

behind the mask

I just want to spend a week like I used to ...

I want to lay on the floor and play with blocks.

To chase the boy around the dining room table.

To sit on the front porch when the sun is out and swing together on the porch swing.

I want to take a walk around the block (on the warm days).

To eat lunch together, taking as much time as we want.

To run out for a brief trip to Target or some other favorite shopping destination.

I want to have a moment to actually sit back and relax when the little guy goes down for his nap.

To catch up on old episodes of Bones.

To arrange a play date!

Sometimes I really want things to go back to the way they used to be ... When my biggest concern was what to start for dinner at 4:15.

I wish that things were that simple again.

Finding the time to be a mom and work from home simultaneously is really starting to catch up with me.

I'm starting to wear thin and I don't want to be a disappointment on either end.

I just want to spend a week like I used to ...

November 16, 2010

dino-mite weekend

You've got to love a sixty (nearly seventy) degree day in the middle of November! It was truly just what we needed to relax and unwind this weekend ...

With our weekdays being dominated by my sitting at the dining room table on my laptop and toiling away for a majority of the day, I know that Malcolm is just itching for a little bit of fun. Sure, we have plenty of time to play indoors in the evenings, but it just isn't the same as going outside and feeling that bright sunshine on your face.

I mean, look at how happy he is ... Ready to get up and go!

Tee-shirt: Circo ($1.50 on the sale rack at Target)
Fleece vest: Arizona (thrifted for $1.00)
Jeans: Circo ($4.00)
Socks: Walmart (pack of ten for $6.00)
Shoes: Faded Glory ($6.00)

I like to think that he's aware of how adorably cute he looks.

I mean, who can possibly resist a layered dinosaur tee-shirt, a fleece vest, and some little baby tennis shoes? It's a far cry from the pajamas and sweats we lounge around in for the rest of the week ...

November 12, 2010

when the cat's away ...

I love coming home to evidence of fun moments gone by ...

I only wish that I was there to experience it with them!

November 11, 2010

fall back to sleep, please

I used to be a huge fan of the end of Daylight Savings time.

That extra hour of sleep was heaven.

"Falling back" was always met with open arms from me ... I practically looked forward to it like it was a holiday!

When Malcolm was born, other mothers would comment on how "babies don't care" about the end Daylight Savings. They would refer to schedules being disrupted, crazy sleep and wake patterns, and many other horrible things ... But I knew that I had nothing to worry about.

My baby loved sleep as much as I did.

My baby would relish in that extra hour of sweet, blissful sleep.

My baby would be agreeable, as always.

And, as I had predicted, Malcolm was a champ.

Absolutely nothing changed.

I was right.

It was no surprise. My baby kept right on sleeping ...

Unfortunately, things are not the same now that "my baby" has magically turned into a one-year-old.

Baby no more, Malcolm is still waking up at the same time he usually would ... As determined by the position of the sun in the sky (and definitely not the numbers on the clock).

While it's probably good for me to be up at 7:00 am (I know it could be much, much worse) to get a jump start on my work-from-home day, my body is just not used to it. I have been so spoiled by my excellent sleeper that these early mornings are making me wonder how I even crawled out of the bed for mid-night feedings.

Obviously, the days will roll by and we will develop some new routine.

Hopefully it won't be sabotaged by the beginning of Daylight Savings come spring time ... But I guess we'll have to wait and see!

November 9, 2010

good morning, little boy

There is something about a cute set of pajamas that make me want to hug and squeeze Malcolm until he can't take any more of it.

From the moment I saw these particular ones in the store, I knew we (I?) had to have them.

I even bought them one size too big so that he'd be able to wear them a little bit longer ...

Just like my former "favorite pajamas," I love everything about these:

The pattern of fat forest animals ...

The cuddly thermal fabric and how it makes his little arms and legs look so skinny ...

But, most importantly, I love the way Malcolm loves wearing them ...

I can hardly contain my glee whenever I ask, "Malcolm, where's the bear?" and he looks at me, excitement in his eyes, and then does this:

Thermal pajamas: Just One Year ($7.00)

He's turning into such a little boy!

November 3, 2010


My husband has been a little under the weather lately, so, this morning when I woke up, there was a pile of boxes from our medicine cabinet tossed haphazardly on the bathroom counter. As I brushed my teeth, I glanced over at them, reading about the contents of the various brightly colored boxes ...

Cold and sinus caplets.

Sinus and headache geltabs.

Extreme congestion nasal spray.

And, for good measure, infant gas relief drops.


Never touched.

I remember the drama that led up to the purchase of those infant drops ...

One night, while we had some visitors (I won't say who, although those that know me and my family/extended family can probably guess who was over), Malcolm was a little bit fussy.

A teeny, tiny bit fussy.

Barely even noticeable, really.

Since the kid hardly ever cried, let alone fussed, it didn't bother me too much when it inevitably happened ... Sometimes we all just need a moment to be cranky!

Unfortunately, it seemed to signal the end of the world to our visitors:

"He's gassy ... I just felt a little toot!"

"He's bloated!"

"His belly feels so full!"

"Is he having trouble burping?!"

"You really need to get some infant gas drops ... I can't believe you don't have any infant gas drops!"

"He's just fine!" I wanted to shout. "If you 'felt a little toot,' doesn't that mean he is able to relieve whatever gas he may have? And maybe his belly feels full because he just ate!"

Of course, as new mothers tend to do, I just sat there and took the onslaught instead. It would end soon enough, just like Malcolm's bout of fussiness. Even so, my husband felt the need to go and purchase a container of infant gas relief the next time he headed out to the drug store, just in case we might need it down the line.

Well, wouldn't you know?

It turns out we didn't, since they are taking up space in our medicine cabinet ...


I guess that means I was right after all.

November 2, 2010

my little peanut

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

I love love LOVE it!

So, as you might expect, I was very excited at the prospect of having a child who could actually participate and dress up as something. Last year, Malcolm was a little over a month old, so his Halloween "costume" consisted of a black onesie with the outline of a skeleton on it and a pair of tan sweat pants.

I told everyone that he was a "skeleton wearing pants."

Not the most exciting costume of the year.

This year, I knew Malcolm had to be something cute ... And something that I could construct myself.

Many of my fondest Halloween memories come from the unique, handcrafted costumes my Mom would make for my sisters and me. I truly hope to carry on that tradition and create things that Malcolm will be proud to wear and remember as the years roll by.

Besides, who wants to pay $30.00 for a cheaply made, drafty costume (that falls apart in one evening) anyway?

So, for my first-ever attempt at a child's Halloween costume, I went simple.

Very simple.

Behold, my little Peanut ... Charlie Brown:

Onesie: Old Navy ($1.50)
Yellow Polo: Cherokee ($1.75 from the sale rack at Target)
Fabric/Supplies for Stripe: Walmart ($3.75)
Pants: Old Navy (thrifted for $2.00)
Socks: Circo (gift)
Shoes: Faded Glory (thrifted for $3.00)
Football: Radioshack ($1.00)

I can't wait for next year!

November 1, 2010

baby genius

I've talked about it before ... Mothers have a natural inclination to believe that their child is the smartest, most adorable, best baby there is. Whether smack in the middle of all the growth charts or not, it doesn't matter. My baby is inherently better than your baby. He might be smaller, or thinner, or have far less hair on his head. He might even be crawling instead of walking, grunting or squealing instead of talking ... But there is something about him that makes him better.

Really. Truly. There is.

While I say this tongue-in-cheek, part of me does believe it ... I wouldn't be a proper mother if I didn't! Part of me likes to think that I've produced progeny that combines the best of me and the best of my husband ... So, surely, he must be awesome! Look into his little gray eyes and tell me I'm wrong.

Did you hear that? Gray! Really ... They're gray!

Now, that's special!

How many gray-eyed people do you know?

But anyway ...

Knowing how I feel about my kid, it is fun to see him through other people's eyes.

For example, my mother-in-law was so impressed that Malcolm was stacking boxes and blocks at eleven months old, she started bragging about it ... To everyone! Soon, the entire family was abuzz with the amazing news:

Her kids never did that, she said ... Never entertained themselves with constructive play until much later. Her kids were only into destroying things, not building them. Malcolm, surely, is ahead of the curve. He's so smart ... And coordinated!

She still talks about it today, over two months later.

Yes, she asks about first steps and first words, but she still gets excited when he starts stacking things. It's one of the first things she reports back on after he's spent a day with her. It's going to be his "claim to fame," the thing she reminds him of when he is older and wiser. The thing that sets him apart from all the other grandkids ...

"You know, when you were little, you started stacking things really early ..."

I'm glad Malcolm has that.

It's good to be special.

(For the record, I looked it up in one of the many baby/toddler books that I've accumulated ... There is nothing extra special about an eleven month old that stacks objects. It is perfectly normal. Let's just keep it our little secret, though. I like it that Grandma thinks our little man is a genius!)