Sunday, December 8, 2013

This just in

Pants!  E has finally changed his mind about pants.  Back in September, he got two nice pairs of pajamas for his birthday from Grandma and Grandpa, but he wasn't too keen on them right away (he really liked his summer pajamas).  I pulled them out again a few days ago, and he was over the moon for the pair with a little monster on them.

The pants have stripes that match the monsters tummy, so I called them "monster stripes" and made sure not to say the p-word when I put them on for the first time.  E does sometimes call them his monster pants himself now.  It was a little touch and go at first.  He said they were too tight - they are the "snug fitting" kind, but two sizes too big in order to fit over the big cloth diaper - but now he doesn't want to take them off.

He still likes to mix and match his socks.  He also discovered cutting paper - holding the safety scissors with two hands while Mommy or Daddy holds the paper.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lil Pumpkin

This year was the first year that E was really aware of Halloween. He was a chubby little pumpkin!

He helped pass out candy and made sure the trick or treaters all rang out doorbell.

We also did a corn maze just down the road from our house.

E's current favorite game is Connect Four.  He likes to put the pieces in to make patterns, usually a row along the bottom, but sometimes columns.  Some favorite phrases are, "Mommy tell" (Mommy tell me what something is) and "Hate pants."  Yesterday he seems to have started saying yes, instead of "mmm"!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, little buddy!

E is two today! Yesterday, I asked him if there was anywhere special he would like to go for his birthday, and he said, "Farm!"

Our park district runs a 1930's dairy farm, and sometimes E and I go there to buy eggs.

His favorite animal at the farm is the chickens!

We watched them for quite awhile.

Still watching chickens.

Watching with Daddy.

For his birthday, E wanted to wear his red socks.  We put one on, and then he saw his orange socks and wanted to wear those too.  So he's wearing two red socks and two orange socks here.

He also liked the sheep and the geese, but the cows were a bit too loud.

We stopped on the way out to check out the giant sunflowers!

At two, E knows all the colors of the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Red was his favorite for a long time, but orange has been popular lately.  That may be because he likes the orange tomatoes from the garden the most (me too).  He can also get down from his learning tower by himself now.  He knows "one" and "two" very solidly.  And today for the first time, he was interested in the letters on my shirt!  (It happened to say Illinois Engineering...)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Zoom zoom zoom

What's going on here...?

Driving already?!  Or really sitting in the parking lot at a forest preserve that I just realized is only about five minutes from home.  And that is really saying something because there is almost nothing within five minutes of our house.  We had a couple of unusually cool days (highs in the low 70s!) lately, and today the whole family took a short trip to the forest preserve.

View from the parking lot
This preserve has several trails, including two that are about one mile loops, just right for us these days.  These trails are shared with horses, and a horse trailer happened to arrive right after we did.  Watching the horses (from a distance) was one of the highlights of the trip for E.  Also pushing the buttons in the car, ahem.

In other news, one of E's favorite things is playing peek-a-boo!  He likes to hide or cover his eyes and then call out the name of the person he wants to "look" for him.  He just discovered that he can get the same effect by scrunching his eyes closed to hide.  Then I scrunch mine back at him and ask him questions about where he's hiding.  When he's ready to be found, he tells me, "Open!"

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Watermelon is definitely E's favorite food right now. He calls it "wawa", just like water. We have a bowl of mixed watermelon and pineapple, and he likes to give all the pineapples to me, and eat all the watermelon himself! With all of this interest in watermelon, we're also trying pickled watermelon rinds.  They're just the rinds, water, salt, and a few days out on the counter.  We'll find out how they are in another couple of days.

Here's the cooking assistant just after we finished measuring out the salt.  He's in his learning tower which *drumroll* ... he can get in to by himself now - a big step in motor skills!  E is quite pleased that he can get in to the tower on his own too.

Mr. Muffin learned how to make the "sh" sound just recently, and right away added new words to his vocabulary, like "shoes" and "shirt."  He's also been really interested in lining up objects lately, especially his block crayons (they're small rectangles).  He arranges them more than he colors with them these days.

Update: Those watermelon rinds didn't turn out so tasty afterall - the texture was a bit odd...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The big 2-2 months

A busy guy is 22 months old today! Let's have an update on what he's up to.

Laundry.  E is an experienced laundry assistant now, pushing and pulling the basket to the laundry room and putting wet clothes in the dryer.  Once it's clean, his favorite thing to do is bring it to his room, empty the basket, and pile it on himself as high as he can.  After making a mound on his legs, sometimes he asks mama to cover up his head or back too.

Mr. Muffin also knows "wait" very well.  It sounds a bit like "red" when he says it, and red is his favorite color, so the hand gesture helps to make his meaning clear.  E loves to point out anything red, and prefers the red anything when there's a choice, like the muffin in the red muffin cup.  He also runs to the fridge and says, "Red!" which means he'd like some (red) grapes.  Or he runs to the pantry and says it, meaning he'd like his (orange) vitamin.  Red currently covers pink, sometimes purple, orange, once in a while yellow, and of course, red!

E is getting closer every day to being able to get in and out of his learning tower by himself.  At grandparents' house for the 4th of July, he even climbed all the way in to his highchair.  Here he was helping me take pictures of my very first Blythe doll (woohoo!).

One of the best:

I lost count awhile ago of all E's words, but I have a few current favorites.  Huge ("uggggge") - E learned this word when the pond behind our house had frequent visits from a crane and I called it the "huge bird."  I'm glad E prefers "huge" to "big", because nothing else he says sounds like it!  He does have a lot of B words though that can be tricky to tell apart.

Backward - he's been saying this one awhile, but "boo-bah" is just too cute.

Regular ("reg-da") - This one is usually in the context of doing something the regular way, as opposed to the silly way or "boo-bah".  Like, walking reg-da, sitting reg-da.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Parade + Complete: Waldorf Doll!

A couple of weeks ago, E said his first two word phrase, "No more!"  He's also gotten to be quite the stair climber these days, he's getting proficient at walking down them instead of crawling.

We went to a (short) Memorial Day parade on Monday with my parents, and Mr. Muffin was very keen on the marching band.  They even were wearing their raincoats - I don't remember ever wearing those raincoats in four years of marching band!  All of the people and noise were a bit much for the little guy by the end, so it's a good thing the parade was only about fifteen minutes.

This week I wrapped up the Waldorf doll too!  It was quite the project, and I think he came out nicely.  My favorite part was the embroidery for the face.  My least favorite part was setting the sleeves in the shirt.  And the scariest part was trimming the doll's hair!  The instructions had you put in hair that was too long, and then trim, I imagine so that you could cut it to look even regardless of whether the head itself was a perfect sphere.  But the hair took hours upon untold hours to put on, so a mistake in the trimming would have been almost too much to bear.  The hardest part has been getting a nice picture of E with the doll...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A busy bee + Work in progress: Waldorf Doll

Mr. Tiny Muffin is doing all kinds of new things these days!  Here he is sticking his tongue out at dinner:

He's also climbing on to furniture on his own now and working on taking steps standing rather than crawling.  There are many teeth in there now, with new ones coming in all the time.  E's vocabulary has really expanded with new words, in fact his latest one is "new."

 I've been busy making a Waldorf doll for E as well.  As Wikipedia says, "its appearance is intentionally simple in order to allow the child playing with it to improve or strengthen imagination and creativity."  I'm using a pattern from the book Growing Up Sew Liberated and the instructions are very clear.  Even though this guy's arms look rather long, if you put them over his head, they  barely touch - just like E!


 I got this great new mug recently too!  It's Corelle, so if anything should happen to it, it seems easily replaceable, whew.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baby's first haircut

The day before Easter, E had his first haircut (by Mommy).  The poor fellow's bangs had gotten so long that during the proceeding week I'd resorted to pulling them on top of his head so that he wouldn't rub his eyes all day long.

 So cute!  But perhaps not the look for seeing all the relatives at Easter dinner.

How did we get the busy guy to hold relatively still?

Daddy's smartphone.

E has some new favorite words to say these days: "wawa" (water) - it's really nice that he can let us know when he's thirsty.   "Booba" (eyeball)  - said while poking yours, or sometimes his own.  "Buubba" (backward) - while walking backward.  "Lii" (light) is also new very recently!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One and a half years

Mr. E turned one and a half last week!  He had a cold at the time, but he's just about back at one hundred percent now.

Fun facts about 18 months - E is
  • 25 pounds
  • 34 inches tall
  • loving pouring, and hence bathtime
  • just starting to climb up on to furniture
  • very fond of the learning tower
  • quite good at saying "no"
  • beginning to talk beyond mama/dada/no, such as "mana" for banana and "no" for snow
  • getting molars
  • tons o' fun!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A pancake ten days in the making

I recently decided that I would like to try making sourdough bread. This idea stemmed partly from remembering some yummy sourdough that I made with my mom in grade school as part of a class project, and partly from reading that sourdough baked goods are easier to digest than non-soured versions. Not that E, Hubbo, or I have any problems that we know of with wheat, but if I'm going to make bread at home, might as well try to make sourdough! I learned that even some gluten intolerant people can eat sourdough bread made with wheat flour.

The catch though, is that the health benefits only come from recipes that sour all of the flour, and most recipes I found online don't fit that bill.   "Traditional foods" enthusiasts (a.k.a. people who follow the ideas in that Nourishing Traditions book I mentioned awhile back) do sour all of the flour.  I signed up for a self-paced traditional food-style sourdough eCourse to get me started.  So far, it's been just what I was looking for.

About a week and a half ago, I started my very own sourdough starter with some whole wheat flour and water.  Here it is after a few days (bubbles = good).

My course advised letting the starter develop for a week before using it for anything and waiting several weeks before using it for anything that needs to rise, like bread.  Now that my starter is old enough, I used it for the first time today to make a "skillet pancake."

The scale isn't so obvious here, but this pancake is 12" in diameter!  You just pour all of the batter in the skillet at once to make a giant pancake.  Much easier on the cook that way.  The recipe called for a 10" cast iron skillet, but the closest thing I had was a 12" stainless steel frying pan, and that seemed to work out well.  It tasted pretty good to me, although not noticeably sour, especially for a whole wheat pancake.

E in the tower*
Here's Mr. E checking out the pancake from his learning tower - normally the tower would be right up against the counter, but I had just moved it to take the pancake out of the oven.  I just got the tower for him last week on craigslist (these towers show up pretty frequently on craigslist around here), and it's been a big help when I'm cooking.  He loves to see what I'm doing, and now he can see from the tower.  The first time he stood in it, he realized that he could see the entire counter on his own and his face absolutely lit up!

* "E in the tower" is a reference to the book Powerborn which contains a painting called "Tais in the tower" that I think of every time I talk about E's tower.  The book has really amazing artwork, and the story is pretty good too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fine motor skills, the Ikea edition

Now that we've gotten our new carpeting - thank you previous owners who could not housetrain your pets - I've been starting to set up the loft area. While I was putting the Ikea bookshelf back together, Mr. Muffin wanted to help put some of the pegs in.

He put in a few extra too!  This was a great unplanned every-day-life-as-learning activity, à la Waldorf style.  After putting in all of these pegs, and a few more, E had really improved his technique, realizing how to hold the pegs in order to put them in.

I also recently finished this book sling for the playroom (a.k.a. dining room) from this tutorial.  With the books displayed this way, the cover art is visible to E, so he can see which book he's picking up.  Hopefully the book sling decreases the pull-every-book-off-the-shelf-to-find-one mess and frustration. 

The plan is to only keep about four books in it at once and to rotate them periodically.  It's a bit too tall for the small boardbooks we have, so those are kept somewhere else (not as neatly...).

Close up

Side view
E helped me make cookies this morning too.  He's keen to watch the stand mixer mix, and lately he's been in to other noise-making kitchen gadgets like the coffee grinder and food processor.  When he sees them, he says "RrrRrrRrr!"

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cubbie cap

It seems to me that baseball cap + small child = cute overload.

You can see E's teething necklace very clearly here.  It's made of amber and I got it from Inspired by Finn back when he was about six months old or so at the recommendation of mamas I met at my local LLL and babywearing groups. I'm not sure if it really helps with teething, but it definitely doesn't hurt.

We had our biggest snowfall of the year so far overnight, all of 3 or 4 inches, I'd say, and E was out helping me shovel again this morning.  With snow boots!

I started knitting a pair of these socks for myself last weekend. I'm making them in to knee socks and don't expect them to be finished before the fall. I've wanted to make them forever - or at least since the pattern came out in 2006 - and I'm glad they're underway, size 0 needles and all.

One more picture of a cutie in a cap!

This picture was totally back-lit when I took it, but through an editing menu in my camera itself that I don't fully understand, I was able to improve it quite a bit.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Little shoveler

Lots of news! Teeth #7 and 8 have come in, now E has 4 on top and 4 on bottom. He's also become fond of Daddy recently, good news for Mommy :)

Here the little guy is reading a book by himself (that's also a new development, instead of always bringing his books over to us to hold them for him).

It finally snowed (a little), and Mr. Muffin helped me shovel today. He was even entirely bundled up - hat, winter coat, socks, shoes, and MITTENS.

E is eating with a combination of hands and silverware these days.  Some meals he's keen to use his fork or spoon, and sometimes he's not.  The spoon is especially tricky, because of course the food tends to fall off if he turns it upside down, but the past few days a lot more of the food has been making it to his mouth on the silverware!  It's fascinating to watch him learn to do these kinds of things that are so easy to take for granted.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hello there! Mr. E is getting closer to really talking every day now. He says "mama" and "dada" quite often, although he doesn't always seem to mean mommy or daddy when he says it. E will also make the first sound of a lot of words, like "m" for mail or mouth. He also has the two baby sign language signs that we taught him down pat - "milk" and "more."

In the four months since he got it for his birthday, E has become an expert at Hammerballs:

He's also still really in to buttons (this toy has a button on top where his finger is):

We've been playing inside a lot lately since it's winter and the little guy really doesn't like to wear his winter coat or mittens.  We did make it outside this afternoon to watch our first real snowfall though!  E liked it, at least until his hands got cold, ahem.

A busy day, E also met my Pullip doll, Bubbles, and he was fascinated!

Bubbles' summer dress
She's the first doll I think he's seen, at least up close.  He would touch her nose, then my nose, her mouth, then mine.  I showed him how her eyes close, but he didn't care for that at all.