Monday, February 28, 2011

Free Short Stack

What chu talkin' bout?
Not that short stack!  This one!

On Tuesday, March 1, IHOP is offering free pancakes in exchange for a donation to Children's Miracle Network!  Read the details here:

 Considering I have issues flipping pancakes (It's an art, okay?  I can make Thanksgiving dinner, but flip a pancake? Not so much...), this sounds like a great way to get some pancakes and support a good cause.  I hope you'll consider stopping by IHOP tomorrow as well!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teaching Again and a Few Pics of Mr. Destructo

Yesterday I got a call from the University, and they offered me a class for the March/April term!!  It was a late addition and the class started TODAY (yeah, yikes) but of course I said yes.  Because of the way their computer system works, the scheduler who contacted me said that I probably wouldn't be able to access the course until late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning.  Needless to say, I've been a little nervous that I would be behind, since students have been able to access the course since last Sunday.  There is behind-the-scenes prep work that should have been completed by now, and I was worried that the students would already be upset that the instructor hadn't "arrived" in the class. 

I was also a little nervous to start the class routine again.  Granted, Jacob is two months older than the last time I taught, and two months is a big difference for someone his age, but I wondered how I was going to manage getting everything done again.  Last fall, I did a lot of grading during his morning naps, and now he's not taking a morning nap.  (Did I mention that?  I think he's really giving it up for good this time.)  I hate to be on the computer for more than a few minutes while he's awake because I feel like I should be playing with him... not that he would let me get any work done, anyway.  He hates when we're on the computer!! 

So after a fun evening out with my girls, arriving home a little later than I probably should :), I was up at 3 am wondering how I was going to rearrange my schedule to make this work.  I should add that Frank is very good about entertaining Jacob in the evenings/weekends if I'm working, but having our evenings/weekends free during Jan/Feb has completely spoiled us.  Once I logged into the course this morning, I saw that I have 5 students, and none of them had access to the course before today!  Immediately, I was relieved that a) they wouldn't be upset with me because I hadn't been in the course last week, and b) there are only 5 students!!  Imagine how much easier it will be to grade 5 papers as opposed to 30 papers as I had done for my last classes!  Maybe this won't be so difficult after all...

I will leave you with some pictures of Jacob trying to chip away at the fireplace with a fork. 

Don't you wonder what he's thinking???

Friday, February 25, 2011

Talk Talk Talk

This week I've noticed a jump in Jacob's vocabulary.  I still can't decipher most of what he says, but he jabbers constantly and makes more consonant-type sounds.  We're pretty sure he says "on", "this (dis)", "Dib (his nickname)","hi", "here", and "baby."  How's that for a random list?  My mom is totally sure he picked up a rock a few days ago and said, "This rock" (which sounded like "dis ock"). We've also thought he's entered a room and announced, "Baby here!" 

Just last week, I was worried because I had read that 15 month olds should be speaking 5 words in addition to "mama" and "dada", and I didn't think that he was there yet.  Maybe I'm just not listening hard enough!

Trying to translate his baby-talk has provided some major entertainment for us.  Frank will play a game where he "interprets" Jacob, and Frank usually ends up saying some random combination of words like, "Goose...anthem...wish..."  Cracks us up, but maybe you have to be there!

He's also been really into phones this week, which may be a good way to encourage him to talk more.  When he "talks" on the phone, he puts the phone behind his head and talks into his elbow, which is hilarious to watch.  Both my mom and Brittney let him play with their phones, so when he has my old phone, he's a little annoyed that it isn't as fancy!  He wants more buttons to push- more lights and more sound!

I think it's broken, mom.

I am so happy that he's beginning to talk more (and no, I won't regret saying that).  His little mind is so unique.  I can't wait to have real conversations with him...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Randoms

* Frank was at the Chicago office for work yesterday and didn't get home until almost 8.  It made me very happy that even though he starts work early, he rarely has to work late, which is a rarity in law.  He does work weekends, but not nearly to the extent that he did when we first met. 

*  Why is gas $3.42?  Holy expensiveness.

*  We such a fun playdate with the neighbors this morning!  Their little girl is a month younger than Jacob, with adorable red hair.  It was so nice to "compare" notes on our kids' habits, and since this is her third little one, get some advice from a pro!

*  Jacob ate a cheese quesedilla the other day, along with some quartered grapes!  Progress, people!

*  I am having some serious confusion on spring fashion.  The flowy shirts make me look like one of those little Maltese dogs who have so much fur that they look like they're floating along the ground.  (Did that make sense?)  And seriously, I need a tank and a cardigan and a scarf?  Can't I just buy one piece?  It would be much easier. 

*  I'm trying to talk Frank into taking a weather-spotting class.  He's always been interested in weather, so I think he would enjoy learning the lingo, etc. 

*  This weekend, I'm having dinner with my college roommates!  Can't wait!  They are coming here, and I am so looking forward to catching up.  Between the three of us, we've had a lot of life-events in the last year or so, which will make for some interesting discussions.

*  My lipstick plant still hasn't bloomed.  It has new growth, so it's healthy.  Maybe they don't bloom until later in the season...

*  I can't believe we're supposed to get another winter storm tonight.  Boooo....  The only good news is that it's late February, and the snow can't stick around for long. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We Built a Fort!

To say that we are over winter is an understatement.  I'm desperately trying to think of fun things to do to entertain both Jacob and myself until we can go outside again. 

I had the idea of making a fort in the playroom.  Since his attention span is all of 3.2 seconds, we kept it simple with two chairs and his carseat box.  I told him the box was the "garage," and we could put his cars there.  You can see one of his cars in the box in the picture below.

It actually kept him busy for quite a while!!  He had lots of places to explore and hide and seemed to like taking his toys and cars with him into the fort. 

Of course, the best part is when mom comes inside the fort, too!

Once he realized he could wrap the sheet around him, he thought that was great too, so the game of "fort" turned into a game of "ghost."

He is really developing a funny little sense of humor, and he's fun to watch when he thinks he's being funny.  He can really ham it up!

Monday, February 21, 2011

To Nap or Not to Nap

A few weeks ago when I would put Jacob down for his morning nap, there was no actual nap involved.  He would sit in his crib and jabber or turn on his stuffed dolphin and listen to music.  After about 15 minutes, the jabbering would turn to yelling, so I would come and rescue him from the crib. 

He was almost 14 months old, so I thought he was just giving up his morning nap.  I bumped his afternoon nap up an hour, and it actually worked great, schedule-wise, if he didn't take the morning nap and sometimes--- sometimes--- it led to a longer afternoon nap.

For the last week, though, he has been a zombie by 11am.  He doesn't want to play; doesn't want to eat lunch; doesn't want to do anything except whine.  So today, I put him back down for a morning nap.

I feel a little bit like we're moving backwards.  I was ready for one decent-sized nap instead of two 30-45 minute naps, but it's not really my call.  He's been asleep for half an hour, so obviously, he needed a nap. 

Ha!  You will never figure me out!  I will keep you on your toes, mama!

Five years from now, or maybe even one year from now, I'll look back and wonder why it was even a big deal that he went back to taking a morning nap, but today is one of those days where it seems like we will be stuck in this particular stage forever.  I'm ready to have conversations with him; I'm ready to feed him a hamburger; I'm ready to watch him play baseball.  Logically, I know we get a step closer to those things every day and that I should wish away the time, but on this cold, rainy February morning, that's certainly how it feels.

Tooth update:  Still no bottom molars, but I expect they will appear any day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The One About Food

It's no secret that I spent the majority of my twenties subsisting on Lean Cuisines.  I was that girl who brought a bag of chips to the parties where everyone had to bring a dish.  I did not cook, and  I had no interest in it. 

Fast forward to getting engaged...I didn't agree with the stereotype that it suddenly became my "job" to cook for us.  I had a job, thankyouverymuch.  My first attempts were rooted more in health-consciousness (Holy Cow, I found a man!  I hope he lives a looooong time because I'll never find anyone like him again!  Give him some broccoli!) as well as establishing a sense of family.  I'm a big believer in family meals.  They don't have to be fancy or even home cooked, but as much as possible, everyone needs to be sitting at the table together.  Actually, this was the only "non-negotiable" I can remember when we were first married. 

Eventually, my thinking morphed into, "Well, if we're sitting and eating together, we might as well be eating something good."  And lo and behold, I discovered I actually kind of liked cooking.  I know, right?  Crazy.  It's not always my favorite task, but there is something satisfying about feeding people. 

Normally, I would rather cook than bake, but this afternoon, I decided to make cookies using this recipe:

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
24 rolos
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla then mix until combined.
2. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt & cocoa powder. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three batches, mixing well between each batch. Chill dough for 1 hour in the fridge or 20-30 minutes in the freezer.
3. Scoop out ~1 Tablespoon dough and wrap it around a Rolo candy. Roll dough in sugar and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating pan half way through.

DELISH!  The cookies somewhat crumbly but hello, they were chocolate and caramel, so neither of us really cared! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Using My Brain

Yesterday we went to a going-away party for my director at work.  Can you believe Jacob had never been to my office?  The weather was beautiful- 64 degrees in February!- and I wanted him to look super-cute to meet my coworkers.   He wore his blue t-shirt and plaid button-down.

And yes, he wore socks and shoes!

We went to Urbana a little early so we could stop at the mall and have lunch.  I knew the party was a cake-and-ice cream kind of event, so I wanted to be sure he was fed before we arrived.  We "shared" a turkey sandwich, and he actually ate a little turkey along with some graham crackers. 

It was kind of odd being back at the office.  I haven't physically been there since December, and a lot has changed. The actual party was nice, and Jacob (thankfully!) was well-behaved.  Everyone made a fuss over him, which he loved!

So many ladies, so little time!
Although I am so glad to be able to work two days a week instead of five, my current situation may only last as long as it takes them to hire someone else, and it's going to be very difficult for me to say goodbye completely.  For over ten years (yikes!), I've been in this industry and take absolute ownership in my work and pride in the level of expertise that I bring to the table.  It's hard to get the same rush reading Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?  for the 665th time in one day.  The current schedule is about as close to ideal as it gets:  I spend a few days each week playing with Mega Blocks and a few days working on contracts, and I know Jacob benefits from the time that he spends with my mom or Brittney.  I hope that I can continue in this position, or at least in some capacity within the organization, on a long-term basis. 

Speaking of using my brain, I totally killed my blog this morning!  I'm trying to add post dividers (cute little designs between each post), and in order to do that, you have to know a little about HTML.  Do I know anything about HTML?  Uh, no.  After following the directions exactly, I couldn't even view the blog anymore!  Small panic attack.  However, I do know enough to have backed up the template onto my hard drive, so I recopied the section of code that I screwed up, and now we're back in business.  Well, except for the fact that I still don't have post dividers.  I should have pretty little signature now, though; like it?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And We Have Molars!

Jacob's top two molars have broken through!  Sadly enough, my mom was the one that realized it while she was babysitting today.  I spend every. single. second with that kid and she is the one that notices?  I'm sure this wins me the Observant Mother of the Year Award.  (In my defense, I was looking for bottom molars.)

Seriously mom, pay attention

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Forever

Happy Valentine's Day!  Frank and I were just saying that the last V-Day we remember was 2008 when we were dating, but this has been one for the record books.  He brought me a cup of coffee in bed, and then he tells me that he took the day off to spend with us!  After I got out of the shower, I realized he had made the bed (this is huge, people)!  I was ready to call the day a success right there!

Jacob received some cute cards, and for some reason, he took them up to his room once he opened them.  Wouldn't you love to know what goes through their minds?

The back of Great Grandma & Grandpa's card was a coloring page!

We went to the bookstore in the morning; Frank bought a management book and Jacob bought a book about animals.  (Jacob already knows all he needs to know about management!)  Then we went to Parent/Tot Open Gym, which was so nice because Frank could see Jacob in action instead of just hearing me recount his antics.  After open gym, we headed to Panera.  It's kind of a joke between us that Frank thinks Panera is "girl food,"- and I loooove Panera- so having lunch there was extra special.  After lunch and Jacob's nap, we were even able to go outside for a while.  I think it was in the low to mid 40's but it felt like a heat wave after the last several weeks of snow. 

I also received some beautiful flowers at my workplace (a/k/a home) this afternoon from my two favorite guys!

I am so blessed to be Frank's wife and Jacob's mom, and not just because I got flowers and a special lunch (although it was pretty awesome, I have to say).  I remember lots of Valentine's Days where I didn't have anyone or had the wrong someone, which is even worse.  I remember wondering if I would ever find the right guy or if I would ever have children.  If I would have known that the process would have a happy ending, I might have been more patient, but I didn't know that then and I was pretty bitter and cynical about the whole dating game. 

The thing I am most certain of in this world is that Frank and I were created for each other.  He is, without a doubt, the best thing that's ever happened to me, and then he gave me Jacob.  We have a life that I wasn't sure I would ever have, and now I have two guys who are my Valentines forever. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Is The Song That Never Ends

Yes, it goes on and on my friends... Remember that song?  Ugh.  I am living that song as it applies to the search for our media console.  Everyone is sick of hearing about it, and I'm sick of talking about it but I can't actually pull the trigger and buy a new one. 

Part of my issue is that our family room is kind of a hodge-podge of furniture from our single days.  We have Frank's couch (a big brown rectangle), my couch (a big beige rectangle), and matching ottoman (another beige rectangle) the coffee table (a big brown rectangle), and end table (a brown square).  Also, we now have a wicker toy box which is--- you guessed it--- a big brown rectangle. 

Brown Couch
Beige Couch

(I was going to post a picture of the current media console, but I just can't bring myself to to do it.)

There is also a chair that matches the beige couch which is currently in our bedroom, and a loveseat that matches the brown couch that is currently in the fireplace room. 

My ideal scenario would be to leave the beige couch, and ottoman, bring the chair down from upstairs, and *ahem* remove the brown couch from the family room.  Then, we would buy a new coffee table, a new end table, and a new media console. 

Frank's ideal scenario would be to leave everything as it is and buy a new media console.  At least he agrees on a new media console- that's a huge deal! :)

Anyway, we have narrowed it down to 3.  "We" actually narrowed it down to two, but then we saw the last one in person and liked it, too. 




I know without seeing where it will go, it's a little difficult to comment on which stand would look best, but if you have any input, feel free to leave a comment!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


You may remember the brilliant idea I read a few weeks ago that said to entertain your toddler by letting him/her play in cooked spaghetti noodles.  True, it did entertain him for half an hour, which is nearly an eternity for a toddler, but oh my, was it a mess!  (Why did I not think about this part?)  I was so glad I did it when Brittney, our babysitter, was here to help because the cleanup definitely took two pairs of hands! 

Since we've been stuck in the house a lot recently, I decided to give this idea another try, only this time I put down a towel, used egg noodles (and less of them), and stripped him down to his onesie.  Bingo!  Lots of fun and easier cleanup. 

You're ignoring our fruit bowl in the background that has Valentine's Day Snickers instead of fruit, right?  Okay, thanks. 

He didn't throw the noodles as much as he did last time. He was pretty content just transferring them from bowl to bowl.  The funny- or not funny- thing was that never once tried to eat them!  Also, in case you were wondering, he is on the counter, but I was right beside him.

See?  Right there.

It was a great way to kill some time!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Open Gym and No Pants

On Mondays we have been going to Parent/Tot Open Gym at .  The open gyms are every day, but Mondays are the only day that really work for us in terms of nap schedule and work schedule.  There are usually about 30 kids, ranging e in age from 1-4 years old, and Jacob always seems like the youngest one there.  He loves open gym!

I love Mondays!

 Basically, the open gym is just a free-for-all where the kids can use the equipment and the parents supervise. The first time we went, I reeeally wished that Anna was with us, because I know nothing about gymnastics or tumbling!  Fortunately, it's easy to fool a one year old!  He runs around and climbs on the mats, plays with exercise balls and hula hoops, and has even been in the ball pit with the big kids.  They have two built-in trampolines, and he sits on those while the other kids jump so that he gets bounced.  The other kids are so nice to him, and watching them play fascinates him.  You can just tell he's thinking about what he can do when he's the big kid! 

One mom said yesterday she thought he grew since she had seen him last, so that was the highlight of my day!

You're wondering about the "no pants" part of this post title, aren't you?  I'm happy to report that he did have pants the whole time he was in the gym, so it has nothing to do with that.  Later in the afternoon, he spilled the cat's water on his pants and socks, so I put them in the dryer.  I kept him upstairs in the guest room while they were drying, because it's always really warm in there. 

He thought it was awesome to play without his pants.  Even more fun?  Turn on the spinning race track toy and sit in it!  He thought it was a great new game!

But the funniest part happened just a minute later...

I could not stop laughing!

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Sledding Experience

Last week before the blizzard, Frank picked up an awesome sled at Dick's.  Since it has been sub-zero here for the last week, yesterday was the first day it was warm enough (34 degrees- like a heat wave!) to take Jacob outside.  We didn't let the fact that he has no snow pants or snow boots stop us because, we reasoned, he'll be on the sled, so how we could he get?  That was probably a rookie mistake because he did get pretty wet, but he still loved sledding! 

I love how Frank's coat is flying behind him like Batman!

He made this face the entire time he was sledding!

He wasn't so sure about changing "drivers", though...

because mama goes considerably slower than daddy!

Even though it was a misty, grey afternoon, it was nice just to get out of the house!