December 30, 2011

green thumb

Even though the presents have long since disappeared, the glow of our (real!) Christmas tree will be warming our living room for a few more weeks.

That is, as long as I don't forget to water it ...

December 29, 2011


The living room (or the rest of the house for that matter) hasn't been the same since Christmas morning.

Sweatshirt: Garanimals (gift)
Long-sleeved tee-shirt: Old Navy (thrifted for $0.50)
Sweatpants: Garanimals (gift)
Socks: Circo (pack of six for $6.00)

But Malcolm doesn't seem to notice.

For him, it's business as usual ... Another day to let loose and fully enjoy!

I think I'll take his lead.

Cleaning (and returning the house back to "normal") can wait.

December 27, 2011

pink has no place at christmas

It just wouldn't be the holidays without someone getting sick!

Last year, it was my husband.

He caught such a nasty flu that he was bed ridden and completely out of commission on Christmas Day (and for a couple days afterwards) ...

This year, it was Malcolm.

On Wednesday night during his bath, I noticed that his left eye looked a little gunky (and, yes, "gunky" is a technical term) and pink.

By Thursday morning, things were not improving. Not only did the pinkness and gunk remain, but my baby looked like someone had punched him in the face ... His left eye was almost completely swollen shut!

So, a call to the doctor was placed and, much to my excitement, the nurses were able to diagnose him over the phone (no appointment necessary!!) ...

He had pink eye.

Although his happy-go-lucky attitude hadn't changed in the slightest, Malcolm was placed on twenty-four hour quarantine until he could be medicated and deemed non-contagious (and ready to enjoy the holiday festivities with everyone else).

And thus began my pink eye paranoia.

We couldn't really pinpoint where Malcolm picked it up (I'm thinking a trip to Walmart earlier in the week was the culprit), so, surely, someone else in our household would pick up his germs and only compound our problems!

Did I wash my hands well enough after administering his antibiotic eye drops?

Did he pass any bugs onto my pillowcase during his bed time story with Dad?

Did he contaminate the couch (and the many pillows and blankets there) during his daily jumping spree?

Should I just wash everything in hot water and call it a day?

Here, nearly a week later, and I'm still scrutinizing the whites of my eyes in the bathroom mirror each night.

So far, so good ... No signs of pink eye for me!

Still, it would be absolutely lovely to have a Christmas without any sickness or drama.

A girl can dream.

December 23, 2011

merry christmas, mon

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

I hope it's as enjoyable as a sunny (and warm!), Jamaican day!

December 22, 2011

food fight

As my last days of work before Christmas Break wound down this week, I was able to spend a little more time than usual playing (throwing plastic food down the stairs, what could possibly be better?!) with my boy.

He is such a little person now it is scary.

Personality galore!

(As you can see from the following photo.)

Hooded sweatshirt: Carter's (thrifted for $0.50)
Long-sleeved tee-shirt: Old Navy (hand-me-down)
Sweat pants: Garanimals (gift)
Socks: Circo ($1.00)

I'm sure we'll have many more fun times (complete with plastic food throwing) as Christmas Break really gets going!

Bring it on, Malcolm!

Bring it on!

December 21, 2011


Although I'm admittedly excited for:

The quality time spent with family ...

The delicious food (and LOTS of it) ...

The giving and receiving of presents ...

The visits from friends ...

The lazy nights spent in the glow of our Christmas tree ...

The time off from work (for me and my husband) ...

I find myself a little less enthusiastic than usual this year.

Christmas is almost here ...

But not my Christmas.

My Christmas will come about three months from now.

My Christmas will be the day (or night?) in March when Baby #2 decides to join us and turn our family of three into a family of four.

Then, I'll truly be excited with all the giddiness and anticipation that Christmas typically brings.

I can't wait to meet my little guy or girl.

December 16, 2011

little by little

It all started with an exclamation of "Bob Marley!" on vacation in Jamaica (or, probably more accurately, "Ba Bali!").

Then, little by little, more simple words started coming ...








Add to that, just about every letter in the alphabet ...

I know it isn't much, probably not where a nearly 27-month-old should be according to doctors and books (and other mothers), but it's something.

Definitely progress from a mere month ago.

Exciting and different and new all at the same time.

And, interestingly enough, while the "real" words are beginning to leak out, the signs just keep increasing, too ...

There are various made-up signs to represent family members and real signs that he joins together (like "baby" and "cookie" to request the small sized cookie from his play food set). And every now and then he'll come out with a sign that I don't even recognize (luckily my husband can fill in some of the gaps with the ASL knowledge he acquired when he needed some language credits in college).

All in all, witnessing this growth of both verbal and nonverbal language is absolutely amazing. It makes me wonder how we even knew what he wanted or how he was feeling before the signing and talking began ... It makes me wonder how the next kid will be, and how our communication with him/her will be different the second time around.

Maybe we will incorporate the signing earlier (or not at all).

Maybe we'll have an early talker instead of a late one.

So many possibilities that I never even considered before I became the parent of a toddler.

I'm sure my mind will be blown when he starts asking questions and speaking in sentences ... But we may have a little while to wait for that!

But, then again, with Malcolm, you just never know!

December 15, 2011

repeat performance

We went to a little Christmas party over the weekend (the same one as last year), and I had high hopes that Malcolm would warm up to Santa and pose for a picture all by himself this time around ...

No such luck.

(Although, to be fair, we did get a cute, but cheesy, smile out of him.)

No, Malcolm still wasn't excited to see Santa.

But he was excited about the preschool area that was set-up in the next room ...

Long-sleeved Shirt: Faded Glory (thrifted for $1.00)
Khaki pants: Cherokee (hand-me-down)
Socks: Circo ($1.00)
Shoes: Stride Rite (thrifted for $2.00)

It's funny what a two-year-old deems as "fun" and worthy of genuine smiles.

If only Santa could garner the same effect!

Maybe next year ...

December 13, 2011

tiny hiccups

My husband doesn't get hiccups (as in, plural, many, multiples) ...

He gets a single, solitary hiccup.

One and he's done.

That's it.

It's really the strangest thing I have ever seen ... I don't know anyone else who shares his hidden talent. In fact, in our over twelve years of being together (and spending most of our time with each other), I have never witnessed him deal with an unending set of hiccups that required any home remedies to squelch.

"Hold your breath! No, really hold it ... Push through the hiccups!" He'll coach whenever I end up with them (I'm normal, I get more than one!) ... But how I can really take his advice to heart, when he's never had to use it himself?

All this colorful back story about my husband's odd hiccuping abilities to say that Baby #2 had hiccups the other night and he/she definitely takes after me.

I never felt hiccups while Malcolm was hanging out in my uterus, so the experience was totally new ... And really, really cool.

So that's a baby hiccup!

Every couple seconds I'd feel it ...

A little twitch.

Far too rhythmic and small to be a kick or a voluntary movement.

Definitely a hiccup.

A cute, tiny hiccup.

Too bad the husband was asleep at the time and unable to bestow some of his anti-hiccup wisdom on our soon-to-arrive second child ...

Although I'm sure that there will be plenty of opportunity in the future!

I mean, who doesn't get hiccups (in multiples), besides my husband, of course?

December 9, 2011

December 8, 2011

christmas colors

Malcolm is all about colors right now.

He likes pointing them out to anyone who will pay attention, whether they be in the pages of a book or festively decorating a house in the neighborhood ... So, it is no wonder he absolutely loves the ceramic Christmas tree that sits in the family room in my parents' basement.

Striped sweater: The Children's Place (thrifted for $1.50)
Long-sleeved shirt: Jumping Beans (gift)
Corduroy pants: Sonoma (gift)
Socks: Circo (gift)
Shoes: Toddler University (thrifted for $1.50)

I almost can't believe how gentle he is as he takes out the colored lights and birds and then puts them back in their original positions.

It's moments like these where I can't believe how quickly the time has gone ...

December 6, 2011

pain in the abs

I am a full 24 weeks into my second pregnancy.

Already more than halfway along!

Time is flying by, and as this pregnancy progresses, I can't help but notice how familiar it all feels ...

The little kicks and wiggles.

The taste for salty, savory foods (and some sweets every now and then).

The lack of any complications to speak of.

And the constant abdominal pain.

Yes, you read that right ... While many expectant mothers contend with lower back pain, I get to experience all of my pain directed squarely in the front.

As with Malcolm, I'm all belly right now, so all the built up pressure from my expanding uterus and resident baby (and let's not forget the elastic bands on my maternity pants) is pushed up against my abdominal muscles.

It's an annoying, dull ache for most of the day.

Mostly inconvenient in that I can't put a sock or shoe on my foot without sitting down and/or balancing myself against something steady. I almost fell over the other day when I tried to be fancy and get dressed without hanging all over the dresser.

It's the little things, I guess.

And forget rolling over in the middle of the night ...

Although I may not be as large (yet!), the motion is probably much like that of a beached whale, struggling to make some progress and get back into the ocean. My husband refers to it as "the big roll" and wonders how I can remain asleep while I'm making such a commotion on my side of the bed ...

But neither of us should be surprised by any of this.

As I said before, it is all very familiar.

Almost exactly what I experienced when Malcolm was in utero.

Hopefully, this means Baby #2 will be continue to take after his/her brother when he/she joins us on the outside ... And my current "pain the abs" is a sign of good things to come!

December 2, 2011

shades of blue

There's just something about the hues of sea and sky that are so relaxing ...

December 1, 2011

last week at this time

It's hard to believe that just a week ago, we were vacationing on the sandy shores of Runaway Bay, Jamaica with the rest of my family.

The weather was warm and wonderful.

The resort was small, yet full of things to do and people to meet.

The end-of-the-week upgrade to a "beachfront cottage" was a fun surprise.

All in all (even with a two-year-old in tow) it turned out to be quite a relaxing getaway.

Swim shirt: Land's End (thrifted for $1.00)
Swim trunks: Old Navy ($1.95 on sale)

I wonder where our next travels will take us ...

November 29, 2011

so big

I'm not sure what changed (or even when), but all of a sudden, Malcolm seems like such a kid.

A big boy through and through.

He wants to do everything for himself ... Eat his meals, pick out his clothes, read his books, brush his teeth, even pick up his toys (sometimes).

He goes where he wants when he wants, and isn't afraid to climb the stairs in either direction without a hand to hold ...

He is an expert mover, running and jumping all over the place (even on the couch when his Dad and I are in an agreeable mood) ...

He "tells jokes" (usually by signing the opposite of things, like "hot" for "cold" or "cold for "hot") and then laughs at how silly he thinks he is ...

He waves good-bye to me at night as I close the door to his room and settles in all by himself ...

More words are making their way out of his mouth ...

Some of his 2T sized clothes are too small ...

I knew it would happen, that he would eventually grow up, but I never realized how quickly the changes would occur ... Or how, in the blink of an eye, he would seem so different, even after a mere two years together.

When Malcolm was an infant, I often heard: "Enjoy him while he is little. He won't stay that way forever."

Advice that was actually true. Helpful. (Go figure!)

Enjoy him while he is little.

I find comfort in the fact that I was able (and still am able) to do just that.

I am lucky enough to be with him from the moment he wakes to the moment we lay him down to sleep at night.

I am lucky enough to have an effortless (so far) second pregnancy that doesn't detract from any of our daily activities. No morning sickness or complications to speak of.

Yet, even though I am mindful to take each day as a single unit, to really enjoy my little man and all of his delightful quirks and qualities, it's still crazy to me that my squishy little baby is quickly becoming my big boy.

In only four months time he will be the big brother of our household ... Leaps and bounds from the helpless infant we brought home from the hospital about two years ago. Leaps and bounds ahead of the new sibling that will be joining us.

And while some part of me will always I think back and miss the days when my little Malcolm would fall asleep in my arms, the rest of me is excited for all the moments and milestones that are yet to come!

November 21, 2011

i'm thankful for vacations

I'm taking a break from blogging this week ...

Not because life and work have been overwhelming as things gear up toward the long holiday weekend ... But entirely because I'll be on vacation with my wonderful family in Jamaica!

Last time we took a vacation of this magnitude (to Mexico) I came home with tons of photos, memories to last a lifetime, and Malcolm (true story!) ...

That trip will certainly be tough to top, but I know the whole family will have fun trying!

November 17, 2011

under the weather

With all the changing from mild to cold, the weather (and probably play dates with cousins) had Malcolm feeling a bit under the weather this past weekend.

Although he wanted to run around and play, it was evident that he'd be better off taking things a bit slower than usual ... So I dressed him in his comfiest pair of pants, set him up in his Dad's recliner with Spot and his sippy cup, and turned on a "Signing Time" DVD.

Long-sleeved shirt: Faded Glory (thrifted for $1.00)
Fleece pants: Garanimals (thrifted for $0.50)
Socks: Circo (gift)

Who knew "taking it easy" could look so cute?

November 16, 2011

learning his letters

Every day (on many, many occasions), I hear the Leapfrog toy's electronic voice singing the ABCs ...

I wonder when I'll get to hear Malcolm sing along with it ...

November 15, 2011

when malcolm boycotts bananas

Sometimes we buy Malcolm a bunch of bananas for the week and he gobbles them down in a few days ... Other times, they sit on the counter, untouched, slowly ripening past the point of no return.

Those weeks with uneaten, ripening bananas are my favorite because they often mean I'll get to whip up a batch of my "Auntie Marianne's Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies" (or "BCCs" for short).

These delicious sweet and chocolately cookies have a long withstanding history in my life ... "Auntie" Marianne is actually my mom's old college roommate and dear family friend, so, growing up, every time we'd get together we could expect our fill of BCCs. I fondly remember downing about a dozen of these cookies the morning of my wedding ... Breakfast of champions!

Anyway, Auntie Marianne was kind enough to share the recipe with me years ago, and since it is so easy (everything goes in one bowl!) to make, I thought I'd post it for posterity's sake.

You will need:

2/3 cup of shortening
1 cup of (granulated) sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of bananas, mashed (typically two bananas)
2 1/4 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
12 oz. bag of chocolate chips

To make the cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the mashed bananas and mix thoroughly. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips.

Using two spoons, drop by teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper) and sprinkle with more granulated sugar.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Then remove to a wire rack to cool. Store in a covered container ... Although they will go fast!

Makes about three dozen cookies.

Note: I have found that is is helpful if you allow the cookies to cool slightly on the pans before attempting to move them to a cooling rack. The chocolate chips will be very gooey and because these cookies are soft, you can end up with a huge mess on your hands if you are too anxious! Even after waiting, it is sometimes necessary to scrape off your spatula so that all the stuck-on chocolately goodness does not damage the cookies as you scoop them off the pan.


November 10, 2011

indian summer

It's November in Cleveland, but the weather has been surprisingly mild lately.

This certainly isn't a problem, though, as Malcolm and I have enjoyed every moment we've been able to spend outside.

Sweater: Old Navy (thrifted for $5.00)
Long-sleeved shirt: Jumping Beans (gift)
Jeans: Ocean Pacific (thrifted for $1.50)
Socks: Circo ($1.00)
Shoes: Toddler University (thrifted for $1.50)

I think he's getting the hang of these fashion posts ... My little model!

(He's got that smouldering stare down!)

November 8, 2011

count on mom (part 2)

With part 1 (The Counts "suit") out of the way, the missing piece of the Halloween costume puzzle was the familiar green cape.

To begin here, I purchased two yards of fabric in (each) solid green and a colorful number pattern. The green would serve as my top layer of the cape, and the numbers would serve as the lining underneath.

I decided to sew the cape in two parts ... "Part 1" was the actual cape and "Part 2" would be the stiff, triangular part that would stand up behind Malcolm's head.

After making my cuts for "Part 1" (I used one of Malcolm's hooded bath towels as a pattern to get the length right), I turned both pieces good side facing inward and sewed them along three sides with my sewing machine.

Then I inverted everything, turning the good sides outward.

Next, I constructed "Part 2" in a similar fashion, using two pieces of the green fabric (one of Malcolm's board books served as my square template here) and turning the "good side" inward.

Using my sewing machine, I sewed all four sides, but left enough space at the bottom of one point to insert some craft foam (to make the piece stiff enough that it would stand up on its own). For the craft foam, I created the same shape, but slightly smaller, and cut off one of the corners. then I rolled it and stuffed it into the that it could be pushed inside the three sided pocket that I had created.

Once the foam was in place, I secured and sewed the triangular piece to the top of the flowing cape. I cut off the excess fabric, rolled the remaining length under, and sewed it in place to create a more "finished" look.

To attach the cape to Malcolm, I created a green tie by cutting a long strip of green fabric and folding over both sides to create a tube.

I placed this tube horizontally across the top of the inside of the cape and sewed it in place. This helped to cover up the area where the triangular piece of fabric had been added, but was also the obvious place for a fastener.

I created a couple extra vertical stitches for added support and used the hot glue gun to smooth a few areas and make everything lay correctly.

And, there you have it, Count Von Count's familiar green cape.

It took a little coaxing and bribery the week leading up to Halloween to get him comfortable with wearing it, but, in the end, Malcolm absolutely loved it!

November 7, 2011

count on mom (part 1)

This year's Halloween costume was a no-brainer.

Malcolm is borderline obsessed with "The Count" from Sesame Street, and The Count's familiar garb seemed like something I could feasibly recreate at home.

First, I searched local stores (and the internet) high and low for black straight-legged sweat pants and a solid black sweatshirt. Both were a bit harder to find than I had anticipated (and more money than I'd typically spend for a article of clothing for my boy), but eventually Old Navy and an online kids' clothing warehouse had what I was looking for. The sweatshirt turned out to be a hoodie, which wasn't my first choice, but in the end, gave the costume a bit more character ...

But more on that later ...

Now, on with the tutorial:

Embellishing the sweatshirt to look like a suit coat and dress shirt underneath began with a few key supplies ... Mainly felt in various colors, fabric scissors, and a hot glue gun.

I started by making patterns out of notebook paper (as I typically do with this sort of project) and arranging them on the sweatshirt to "see" how things would look. Once I was satisfied with the size and placement, I cut the shapes I needed from the appropriate felt colors and laid them out to be sure I liked what I saw ...

Once I was satisfied, I pieced together the red and yellow sash and bow tie with the felt and lots of hot glue.

The bow tie was created with three strips of felt. The first two were folded in half and pinched in the middle with hot glue (as shown below) ... Each would serve as a single side of the bow tie.

Next, I trimmed away the extra felt on the "bad" ends and glued the two halves of the bow tie together in the middle. I used another strip of white felt to wrap up the glued ends (now middle of the tie) and create that familiar bow tie shape.

Then I put (and glued) all the little details (the bow tie, sash, and jacket lapels) together on the white "shirt" piece I had trimmed. This enabled me to make one removable piece (since I spent so much money on the sweatshirt, I wanted to be able to remove the felt and use it as normal clothing later) that could then be hand stitched to the front of the sweatshirt and easily removed after Halloween had passed.

Lastly, I created some purple ears. They were glued and pinched (similar to the bow tie pieces) to create a more three dimensional shape, then hand stitched to the hood of the sweatshirt.

And, behold!

The final product and first component of Malcolm's Count Costume ...

That's one (one!) good-looking costume!

Ah! Ah! Ah!