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!

November 4, 2011

sneak peek

Yesterday was our 19-week ultrasound ...

Our first real "look" at the newest member of our family.

While the experience wasn't new, it was just as surreal as the first time around.

We really are pregnant (again).

That really is a baby (again).

He/she will really be part of our family in a few short months (again).

Are we really ready for this (again)?

Despite my growing midsection, it is still hard for me to wrap my mind around that fact that I'm carrying a second life around with me wherever I go ... The often blurry images on the ultrasound (and on the printed photo sheets we get to take home) help to make it more real.

That really is a baby in there.

Since we elected to not find out the sex (just like we did with Malcolm), all we know is our second child is healthy, has all of his/her limbs, and is growing according to schedule.

But that is enough for now and we are excited to see what the future will bring.

November 3, 2011

sometimes vampires are cute

Halloween is always (and has been) one of my favorite holidays, but I'm enjoying it even more now that I have a kid of my own.

Although Malcolm didn't quite "get" the trick-or-treating (he was more than happy to let his Dad pull him from door to door in his wagon and sit quietly while we did all the work), he did seem to get a kick out of being his beloved "Count" for a day. His costume was a bit more labor-intensive to create than last year's duds, but it was well worth the time and money I spent! Not only did he win "Best Child's Costume" at a local church event, but Malcolm also loved running around in it ...

(After a little motherly persuasion, of course!)

And what could be cuter than hearing that familiar "Ah! Ah! Ah!" laugh over and over again?

Black hooded sweatshirt: Rabbit Skins ($20.00)
Felt/supplies for faux shirt and sash: Pat Catan's Craft Store ($1.50)
Fabric for cape: JoAnn Fabrics ($14.00)
Fleece pants: Old Navy ($7.00)
Socks: Circo (gift)
Shoes: Starter (thrifted for $1.50)

I can't wait to see what next Halloween will bring ...

I'm sure I'll enjoy the challenge of coming up with (and creating?!) two costumes instead of one!