Friday, August 29, 2008

Recent stuff I love

  1. Wendy's -- Yes, it's fast food and we don't go there very often, but I am a huge sucker for their 99 cents menu and their Frostys (although I am afraid to look at the ingredients). But the real reason I love Wendy's now is because of their great kids' meal prizes. One time it was a tiny calculator, which R loved; another time it was a fun Cranium board game where you build your own zoo by collecting different habitats and animals. The best ones, though, have been Magic Tree House CDs. We are hooked on these now! They are fantastic kids' books, and R loves listening to the CDs of the author (Mary Pope Osborne) reading them -- in the car, at bedtime, etc. Yesterday, we went to the library and R picked out NINE of the books to bring home. The stories are fun, educational about history and nature, and they are helping R transition to longer, unillustrated books.

  2. All-natural chicken nuggets -- I don't feel guilty about letting R eat chicken nuggets when we get these and they're so delicious that A and I love them, too. They are a bit pricey, but our favorite grocery store often has them on sale, so we stock up.

  3. Reduced-sugar lemonade -- We don't drink much besides water at my house. A and I have V8 with breakfast and R used to have OJ in the mornings (he's since lost interest), but other than that, we don't really drink juice and we never drink soda. I broke myself of the juice habit a few years ago and switched to water and have never gone back. R eats tons of fruit, so he doesn't need the additional vitamins from juice, and he certainly doesn't need the extra sugar. He has enough natural energy as it is. Once in a while, we'd buy some lemonade when we were having people over during the summer. But this summer, I discovered that Newman's Own makes a lower-sugar lemonade. It tastes just as good as full-sugar lemonade to me (and I actually even just use it as a splash in my water). R loves it when he's been outside and he's hot from running around and playing, and I don't mind giving it to him because of the reduced sugar. Plus, I usually water it down with a bunch of ice cubes anyway. :-)

  4. "I'm thinking of an animal" game -- I can't remember when we started playing this game with R, but it wasn't that long ago. It works better than an entire bag of toys and activities when we're waiting for food at a restaurant or stuck in the car on a trip. It's basically 20 questions, but the answer is always an animal. It's taught R to ask questions and to make guesses based on the answers to those questions, which is really cool. When we first started playing it, R would just wildly guess animal after animal. But now he asks questions first - about habitat, color, what it eats, if it has fur, etc. And, he's become a master at picking animals and having us guess. Last week, after our trip to the zoo, he limited our choices to the animals we had seen that day.

  5. A menu plan -- Heidi at GGIP, Teachermom, IndigoGirl, and other bloggers inspired me to try creating a menu plan last week. So, on Saturday, we went grocery shopping armed with a list of specific dinners, allowed ourselves one night of take-out, and it worked! We ate all the veggies we bought (usually we forget about some and they end up yucky), saved a lot of money, and stuck to the plan. It even eased stress for us because A and I didn't have to have the daily stupid conversation of: "What should we have for dinner?" "I don't know, what do you think?"

    I guess should get started on the plan for this week ...
Happy Labor Day, everyone! I hope you all get a chance to relax and to have fun!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yet another post where I claim to have nothing to say

The oceanview from the beach house in St. Augustine

I was thinking recently that the soundtrack for my inner life right now could be the sound of static. Nothing very interesting going on. That's why I haven't written much lately and why I'm just posting a couple of vacation pictures today.

I am reading two great books, though: Having a Mary Spirit: Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out and How Women Help Men Find God, which is by the author of Why Men Hate Going to Church. The men hating (or really, not feeling comfortable in) church thing reminded me of a post by Bob on An Eye for Redemption awhile back where he explored this topic a little bit, and I'm finding the whole subject fascinating. (Bob - I can't find the post I'm thinking about. Can you help?) I haven't talked to A about his thoughts, but the book has helped me think about how I present Jesus and God to R. The author talks about how Jesus of the Bible - the guy who cleared the temple of moneychangers, the radical, the man who conquered hell and death - is much more appealing to men than the Jesus that we are often presented with today - best friend, lover of our soul, etc. - because those are qualities more attractive to women. And, because there are more women in church than men, it's sort of a endless cycle - appeal to women, drive away men. Indirectly, the book has also made me appreciate R's super hero imaginative play more. Especially the part about hunting down bad guys.

Other than that, we've been breaking the habit of R needing us to lay down with him to fall asleep. It's been going on since last Thursday, and we've used various methods (from Supernanny, letting him listen to books on CD, me sitting on the floor next to his bed for a few minutes) that have all worked, although we haven't used any one of them consistently, which probably isn't good. But the end results are great: R sleeps in his own bed all night, I sleep in my bed all night, I don't get kicked and punched all night long, and I don't wake up R at 6:30 am when I get up to shower. All of which means that R and I are both getting better, longer sleep. So that's a good thing.

And, once again, when I say I have nothing to write about, I end up writing a mini-epic. :-)

I'll end on another vacation picture.

Part of the Castillo de San Marcos fort in St. Augustine (everything is built out of shells)

Monday, August 25, 2008

These pictures sum up our weekend

There was much bike-riding, playground time, and a trip to the zoo, plus homemade fried chicken for Sunday dinner. Fun was had by all, especially R.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not so proud

This week, I've been constantly, ravenously hungry. I'm not sure why. Here's what I resorted to eating today:

Yes, while my innocent, unsuspecting child is off at school, I ate his last chocolate Easter rabbit. In my defense, though, he had no idea the rabbit was still around AND I wouldn't want him eating that much chocolate anyway.

Check out how I ripped and mangled the box to get the rabbit. And, don't worry, I didn't leave the poor thing sans ears for long. He's with all his parts - warm and cozy in my stomach.

Don't judge me. It's been a very stressful week at work. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


On Sunday, R learned to ride his bike without training wheels. He was so proud of himself, and of course A and I were proud of him, too. It was the most amazing thing to watch!

He's had the training wheels off for a couple of weeks, but he's just been pushing himself along with his feet. On Sunday, we took him to our neighborhood playground, which has a really cool spongy surface instead of sand or wood chips (no skinned knees!). R practiced pushing off and he got it! Within a few minutes, he was zipping around the playground, darting in between the slides and climbing structures. A and I were so excited, but what made it even more special was how excited R was. What a great moment. :-)

Thank you for indulging my mommy pride!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back from the best vacation ever!

We got back on Saturday night after a week with my extended family in St. Augustine. It was so beautiful there and we had such a great time that I'm really sad to be home. Even with the chaos of 12 and sometimes 14 people (including four little boys), we had an amazing time. The beach house was perfect, the beach was beautiful, the shops and restaurants and places to visit were great. I highly recommend St. Augustine! To me, it was a cross between New Orleans and Martha's Vineyard, both of which I love.

Pictures to come later. Happy Tuesday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

What I'm listening to

Phil Wickham has a new live, singalong album that you can download for free from his website. Do it. Now. Don't wait. He is truly amazing. I went to see him and the David Crowder Band last year with the lovely Trish and was blown away.

Let me know what you think!

Thanks to BooMama for the tip

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I love summer!

Today was supposed to be a simple day of riding bikes and going to the park (for me and R) and painting the bathroom (for A). But over our pancakes, sausages, and strawberries this morning, A suggested we drive out to Kimball Farm for mini golf, bumper boats, and ice cream instead. Sold!

We called up some friends to join us and off we went. It was a beautiful day that varied between hot and sultry and cool and rainy. But the rain showers came and went so quickly that it was perfect for cooling us off for the next activity.

Mini golf is still a little bit too long and difficult for R. With six people in our group, it was hard to wait for his turn and the course wasn't really geared toward kids. But he LOVED the bumper boats (so did I!). I think next year he and his little friend Z may be big enough to drive their own boat together. That'll be loads of fun. :-)

So it was a great summer day - full of fun and greasy food and enormous, heaping piles of delicious ice cream.

Friday, August 1, 2008

"Recuperating" at home

Once his fever was under control the other day, R insisted on riding his bike. And wearing his jet packs (made by his friends' mom). And going to the park. And climbing on everything in sight. Apparently, he heals very quickly.