Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A year in the life...

I apparently will not be nominated for Mom of the Year anytime soon. My kid is mostly better after having the plague last week, but now he looks so skinny! When we were giving him a bath last night I noticed he has twigs for arms. Any suggestions on how to poke more into him are welcome.

However, I've been ruminating on making one of those photo books at the Target. Take all my favorite pictures from the last year, and put them into a book. For posterity and what not. Just in case the digital age doesn't pan out. I haven't gotten there yet (have I mentioned that I'm as tired as heck these days?), but I'm giving it much thought.

I thought I'd share my favorite pictures from the last year. There not necessarily the best photos of LG, but they each show something about him. And they are part of the reason we no longer go to JCPenney for photos. LG really isn't the type that can be caught in a seated portrait. He's cute, but he's not the cutest baby out there (certainly no Gerber baby). What makes him lovable is really his personality. These aren't all the good ones, just a ramble. I tried to include ones that people haven't seen yet.

Month 1:

There's nothing special about it, except the look. From the start, LG let us know he was his own person through his eyes and his facial expressions. He was not one of those babies who just sat on your lap and cooed. He wiggled, he looked at things, he grabbed. He was fun, even as an infant.

Month 2:

This was the first real smile we got in a photo. He has his uncle fester hair-do going on, but it's still cute.

Month 3:

LG's favorite sleeping position. Not too many good photos from month 3, for some reason...

Month 4:

This is from the first day of school. Again, it's really the facial expression that makes the picture.

You'll have to indulge me. Month 4 had a few really good shots. This was the last day of Auntie M's visit to Ohio. We had on a special outfit for pictures and such. I'd say the bink ruins the picture, but bink is such a part of our lives, sometimes I think he looks naked without it.

Month 5:

4th of July and LG is sitting at his first parade. He liked the fire engines... And the little girls next to us kept trying to give him candy that they had caught. It was cute. He did score a really fun beachball, though.

Month 6:

This was his first trip to the zoo. He has such a patient happy look on his face here. Cute boy.

Month 7:

First time in a pool. He was with his cousins and had a good time. Look at that pale tum, though! Poor kid wasn't old enough to go into the big pool (not that it was warm enough, ever...). This summer, though. We already have our hat and suit ready.

Month 8:

Bear wrastling! LG still loves to roll around with his little bear. It's fun to watch. Look at that smile! The tuft of hair on top is cute, too.

Month 9:

I had a sink full of dirty dishes and PB decided that it would be fun to see what LG would do with some suds. It's hard to see, but there are some bubbles on his nose!

Month 10:

This one is from Christmas Eve, when LG decided that he wanted to eat the sheep in the manger set rather than play with it.

Month 11:

This one is just a random shot from school. I had promised myself early on that I would get at least one shot each month. And in this case, one was really all we got. We got some walking movies around now, though. Oh, and we might have been a little camera'd out after Christmas...

However, Auntie M got this great shot of LG and his cousins. This was from another day at the zoo. He was just learning how to walk by himself, so he really enjoyed having the girls hold his hand as he walked with them. Of course, any day of hanging out with the girls is a good day for him.

Month 12:

LG's first birthday. And, as we should have predicted, surrounded by new toys, he is playing with Pluto. I have a better one, with the whole cake situation, but not on this computer. I may edit this post later to add it, but maybe not.

And the inevitable cake picture. LG didn't get his own cake to smash, but he did love the heck out of the piece we gave him. It's the green frosting on the nose that makes it.

Like I said, he's not a kid people think is just adorable right off the bat. Then he'll toddle up to them, or offer them his binki and suddenly he's made a friend. He is just a people person.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not the shots...

Ahhh, internets, to prove that PB and I should not be the parents of a single child, forget about 2, it was not shots that caused the yucky fever. It was strep throat. Which we waited 3 days to take poor LG to the dr for. Argh, this parenting thing, it is tough.

However, because the gods not only like to laugh at us, but to dance while they do it, LG now has a rash on his tum. Which is from the shots (or at least, we think it is, according to the paperwork). It doesn't bother him, so we'll let it go for a few days and see what happens.

PB's boss just laughed when he had to call of on Thursday morning. "One sick kid is a dry run, two is parenting..." was his sage advice. Great.

In other news, Uncle J has found us a laptop. Free somehow (and legally, I'm pretty sure). Good times. We've been talking about one for at least a year now, but everytime we get any sort of distance with the conversation we realize that we don't know enough to know what we want to be able to move forward and committ to the spending money part. Pie? Yup, I can blow money on pie any day. Ice cream? Just as easy. A computer? Somehow I'm stimied. Kills me.

Oh, well. I will attempt to get the one year pictures up somewhere this weekend, so you can all enjoy LG in his green frosting (and glaring at K when he had licked all of his off and K still had some left). Funny.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A necessary Evil...

Have I blogged about shots ever? I can't remember. However, LG is home with a fever today (he had to go home from school at noon yesterday, since his temp was over 100), so shots are on my mind. We got our one year shots last Thursday. It's only 3 shots (I know, there are those of you out there cringing, but 3 is a pretty low number when you're a little kid). There was Hep A, MMR, and one other pneumococcial/flu thing. Argh. The MMR clearly stated in the info that you could have symptoms including a rash and fever, up to a week later. However, silly me, I thought we were in the clear after the weekend. Wrong. Great. Poor LG. He really doesn't understand being sick. He still tries to play, and walk around and stuff, but he'll waddle over to you and throw his head in your lap after a while. It is very sweet, but not him at all.

Now, I am all for shots. I have done much reading on the subject. I do not believe that shots cause Autism (though I could see how people who have a child with autism might want to believe that). I don't think they are unnecessary because "those diseases are not a threat anymore". In fact, I am a vehement vaccinator. I think leaving your children unvaccinated is just shy of abuse. I would far rather subject LG to a shot that he will get over in a week or so (actually, he's over the shot in mere minutes- it's the after effects that take a week or so) than subject him to one of those aweful diseases that could maim or kill him. Even it if were true that vaccines caused autism, I would rather take that chance, than the chance that measles would do worse.

What frusterates me is this: there is a growing population of parents who are not vaccinating their children for personal reasons. Goody for them. Do as you choose, I suppose. But I don't think those kids should be allowed in any kind of public sponsored school or event (say the library). They should have to be home schooled, as a matter of fact. Here's why: my kid won't be fully vaccinated until he is 5. Until then, he is susceptable to these diseases that I am trying to prevent. So, if your kid, who is not vaccinated, is carrying one of these (that maybe you brought home from Europe or somewhere where they are still flying around) they might give it to my kid. And my kid will give it to others. And all the years of vaccinating that we ahve done to irridacte these diseases will be for naught. Because some people put the importance of having the choice (and making the choice for their kids) before the importance of public safety (and the choice that the rest of us made). Grrr.

There are reports of small pockets of these diseases coming up all over the country. A country where vaccines are free to those who can't afford them. An country that has tried its hardest to wipe these diseases out and did a darn good job. And it is now being unravelled by a growing number of people who are making a personal choice that effects the public. And it enrages me. We're so darn worried that terrorists are going to send us diseases in our mail, or in bombs, and yet no one is attacking these maroons. Some people actually applaud them for making "informed" decisions. Grrr.

Ok, enough of my incoherent rant. I'm just feeling bad for LG and wish he were feeling more like himself. And wishing that I could be home with him, instead of Grammie. Oh, well. I'm done.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do a little dance...

It has been way too long since I've posted something. And, alas, I have no pictures. But I have good stories!

LG's birthday party was a success. He wore his cake, and ran around with his cousins. A good time was had by him, at least. He was a little overwhelmed by the whole "Open lots of gifts" thing (same as Christmas), so he sat on Uncle BH's lap and watched while his cousins opened gifts. He got a few gifts that were huge hits. A slide from some friends (owners of our puppy friends) that we are allowing him to use indoors for now (mostly because he knows it's there and will go sit next to it unless you put it up and let him slide on it). A really loud phone from Uncle B (which is fine, until he keeps hitting the keys and never lets it finish playing a single song). I think the one I like most is the "fridge farm". There are magnetic pieces you put into a little box thing, with two halves of animals. For instance, you can put in a sheep front and a horse back end, and it sings you a song. Ry will stand there and dance to the music. At the end, if you didn't match the pair correctly, it says "A sheep horse, how silly!" and he laughs hysterically and falls on his butt.

In other news, some of you have been kind enough to share recipes with me to try. And oh, my, did we try a good one. This one came from Auntie S. It's her Dad's recipe (and I regret to say, I never met her Dad. but her Mom is one great lady.) At any rate, this recipe is nice and inexpensive, and pretty easy, too. I didn't use his sauce (though it looks like a nice recipe), since I had some on hand. I'm thinking you could just go get a jar or two of store sauce if you wanted to make it even easier. And serve over rice... Here it is:

Hal’s Holiday Cacciatore

When I make this dish, I always seem to have enough to serve the entire population of Calabria. So I’ve made a valiant effort here to arrive at somewhat more reasonable quantities. But it’s still a lot, so invite some friends over and enjoy. Mangia! Mangia!

4 boneless & skinless chicken breasts, halved
4 chicken legs, skin removed
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
4 sweet Italian sausage links, halved
16 large mushrooms, whole
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 green peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 cup dry sherry wine
Tomato sauce (approx. 3-4 quarts)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

In a large sauce pot or Dutch oven, quickly brown the chicken and sausages, in batches, in a small amount of olive oil, seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Pour off most of the fat. Brown the onion in the same pot, using a small amount of water to deglaze the pot as the onions are cooking. Return the meats to the pot along with the peppers and mushrooms. Add the wine and enough tomato sauce to almost cover the other ingredients. Bring slowly to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend. Reheat slowly, being careful not to let it scorch.

Tomato Sauce

Sauce meat – approximately 1 – 1 ½ pounds each of sweet Italian sausage, pork and beef
1 – 2 green peppers – seeded and sliced
3 – 4 onions – sliced or coarsely chopped
2 – 3 cloves garlic – chopped or crushed
Salt & pepper
2 28-oz. cans of Italian plum tomatoes
2 28-oz. cans of tomato puree
12-oz. can of tomato paste

In a large heavy pot, brown the sauce meat in a small amount of oil and remove. Brown the onions, peppers and garlic. Return meat to the pot, add seasonings and canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove sauce meat. Strain vegetables through food mill. Stir in the tomato paste and puree. Simmer another hour or so, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings. (You may need some sugar if the sauce tastes bitter.)

He says he cut the recipe in half. I cut it in half again and we still had way too much. But I'm thinking next time I keep the recipe as is and freeze half. Good times.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chef PB

So, as it turns out, most of our food experimenting in 2009 will be due to PB, not me. I went and set out this challenge, and he has more than risen to the occasion. I merely have been providing the raw materials for his culinary wizardry.

For instance, I thought that due to the weather, my car, and the impending birthday, this would be the first week we missed. I had all previously tried meals planned for the week. However, london broil was B1G1, so I did. PB decided to throw out the idea of making another quiche (we made one last week that didn't make it into the fridge over night and had to be discarded). He instead took the london broil, went out onto the Foodnetwork site and found a rub recipe. A little time in the oven and Voila, tasty new, never before tried at our house meal. And I came home from work to find it already cooked. Amazing.

I will post the recipe as soon as I remember to get it off of the counter.

I also want to thank the many people who have forwarded me recipes. You guys rock. While you're not brave enough to post them here, I still appreciate all the help we can get. Next week look for Grampa W's chicken cacciatore recipe. Mmmm.