Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Glasses

I took the kids to the YMCA yesterday for gym time. They love going and jumping in the pit and on the trampolines, and swinging from the bars, etc. They can just run around and get rid of some of their energy - and they have a ton. I really hate winter and being stuck inside all day. It is really hard on the kids and me, and there aren't a lot of things to do around here.

Faye jumped head first into the pit and came up without her glasses. Uh OH! So I quickly set Alexander down and jumped in to help her find them. We found them, but they were bent a little and one of the lenses was starting to fall out (Next time she'll have to take off her glasses so this doesn't happen again)! So we put them in my purse to take home, so I could try and fix them. They were actually quite bent and I gently tried to fix them, but the side of her glasses broke completely off. She just got this new pair in August at Lenscrafters, so I figured we could go and get a new frame once Andy was home from work.

Faye and Alexander and I set off for the mall. For kids glasses, Lenscrafters makes you pay 1/4 the retail price of the frames when they break. This is not too bad of a deal, as kids glasses break all the time. At Carle they replaced the frames for free though, so next time we'll be going there again. But they didn't have her frames in stock, so we'd have to have a whole new pair made. So we looked and looked and decided on a pair of red Polo by Ralph Lauren frames. These were a little bit more expensive than the previous Barbie glasses, so we
did have to pay the difference. They are plastic however, and the plastic glasses do seem to hold up a bit better for kids. I was worried it would take a couple weeks to get these in, and her old pair of glasses were very bent and scratched, but they had the lenses in stock and could make them in 2 hours! Yeah! They are very very cute and she received many compliments on them at school today!


Drew had a good time at school today. They were having sports day today so they were supposed to wear their favorite teams shirt. I happened to see a Chicago Bears jersey on sale at Target a couple days ago and thought, well, maybe he'll wear it. He did and was excited about it! After school he ran out of the classroom and had to show me what was in his cubby. He learned to write his name! He spelled it, "DREM." He finally learned how to make a W, but it was upside d
own most of the time. He made 4 pages of his name - it was just too cute! Here are a couple pages on our fridge - he made me hang them up as soon as we were in the door so daddy will see them when he gets home.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alex - A video

I thought I'd see how the video's work on here...


video

Alex has been really really fussy the past few days. I think he is getting very anxious to do his own thing - and he can't until he figures out how to crawl. He has had a little success in moving around our floor by scooting on his bottom or just diving for things he really wants. I'm not really ready for him to be moving on his own yet - it is nice to be able to set him down and know that he will stay in the same spot when I return. But if he is less fussy I am all for that!! I remember Faye and Drew going through a really fussy stage too, but I think they were closer to one year and wanted to talk but didn't quite know how. That is when we introduced them to sign language and that really helped! We've started showing Alex a few signs, but I don't think he has a clue what we're doing yet.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sleep



We've been trying to get Alex sleeping on his own for about a month now. We haven't had much luck yet, but then again we're not that motivated. It is cold in our house and neither of us really want to be getting up at night over and over. And we're tired - at least I am. I haven't slept more than 3 hours at a time in at least 8 months. And usually I am up about every 2 hours. That really catches up with you. So I try to get sleep anyway I can - either when the kids are napping or when I'm holding Alex at night, etc. Last night Alex was up from around 4pm till 10:30pm. I finally got him to sleep, and I laid him in his crib, and it was like magic. He didn't wake up screaming! This is the first time that has ever happened that I can remember, except when he was a newborn. I tried to fall asleep right away to get some much needed sleep. He didn't sleep long however and woke up about 45 minutes later. But we are definitely making some progress and hopefully soon he will sleep a few hours when we lay him down!!

Alex was up at 6am this morning - yes he sleeps less than 8 hours at night. He must have got this from me because my mom has mentioned how I never slept when I was a baby and I never took naps either. But Andy got up with Alex this morning and next thing I knew Andy was handing him back to me so he could help Drew and Faye get dressed and it was almost 10am! That was so nice and I have to say I don't even feel tired this morning!

Billie Jo came down for the day yesterday while her husband Mike is snowmobiling with some friends in Wisconsin. She is now 16 weeks pregnant and looks beautiful! The kids were excited to see her and were a little hyper, but we had a good time. We played My Little Pony candyland, and Don't spill the Beans, and they showed her Lego Star Wars on the computer. Faye was nice enough to share her controller a few minutes so Billie Jo could play. Drew was being a little wild during the games, and once we told him Billie Jo had a baby in her tummy, he started patting her on the back real gently... it was cute. Billie mentioned that she looked at the Vegan Yum Yum blog and saw the rolled lasagna recipe and it looked good, so Andy made that for dinner. We made a few changes to the recipe though - I don't really eat eggplant so we used zucchini. I like eggplant but the last few times I've had it I've had a stomach ache after, so we usually just always substitute zucchini and it works great. Andy went to the store to buy lasagna noodles and pine nuts, but came back with almonds. Pine nuts were going to be over $10. We've also stopped using them in our pesto because of this. Other nuts seem to work just fine. I think it turned out really yummy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A thoughtful girl

Faye and I went and got haircuts on Tuesday evening. Her bangs were getting in her eyes and she needed a trim. The last time I took her she had a hard time and was not too happy about going. So I told her that next time we'd go together and she could see me get my hair cut. This seemed to work really well. By the time it was her turn she was excited about it and sat up in the chair no problem and even giggled a bit!

When we were finished the hairdresser asked if she could have a sucker and I said she could. Faye picked one out and we were putting our coats on, when she went back to the hairdresser and asked, "could I have a sucker for my brother?" I was amazed that she thought of him and asked on her own, as usually she is just a little shy around strangers. She is always very thoughtful like this, but it always surprises me that she is just 4 and thinks of these things. Drew was very happy once she got home and had a sucker for him!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BRR!

The weather was extremely cold this week. The kids preschool was canceled on Thursday and Friday. Alex was supposed to get pictures taken on Thursday, but since it was so cold we rescheduled for next Tuesday. It was -15 on Thursday morning when we woke up. Andy was going to ride his bike to work - I told him to skip because that was just crazy. He received an email later that day saying that some idiot pulled the fire alarm in the basement of Loomis Lab, so he was glad he skipped and missed having to go stand outside in the cold!



The kids were happy to finally get to play in the snow today. They stayed out longer than I expected... Mostly they were trying to dig out their frozen toys from the sandbox. Drew grabbed the snowshovel and scooped a little bit.

Andy gave the kids a bath a few nights ago. This is what happens when daddy's do bath time I guess. He just put them all in there together! He says they 'self clean' too!



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Six months!

Alex had his six month check-up this morning. We were supposed to be there at 9:20, but we were a few minutes late since we took the kids to preschool first, and then Andy to work. The receptionist had to call back and ask the doctor if she was still going to see us since we were late. I was ready to tell her, "I require 24 hours cancellation notice." I've had to wait so many times and for so long I wasn't about to let them tell me I had to reschedule. I think this is the first time I've ever been late for an appointment and it was just a couple minutes. It should be a two way street but it is definitely not! But we have a great pediatrician and she saw us. Alex is now 17lb 15oz which puts him in the 52nd percentile. He has been in the 80th percentile up till now, but she figures he is starting to get more active so this is normal. He is 27 1/2 inches - which means he is still up there for height - I think it was 78th percentile.

He did have 2 shots and a liquid vaccine, which he did not like very well. He only cried for about 30 seconds though, and he was back to smiling and giggling at the nurse.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Tunnel


When Alex was just a couple months old we purchased this Fisher Price play gym for him. He could lay on his back and look up at the toys and he loved it. I forgot that it could also turn into a tunnel once he was older. He hadn't been playing with it much, but I got it out yesterday and made it into the tunnel, and it was a big hit with all the kids! They had a great time playing all day with it.




Alex was content to just sit inside and play with the toys. Drew and Faye of course had to show him how to crawl through it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Seitan = Yum!

Lately I've really been into seitan. I've had it before on many occasions, and I was never really impressed until now. I found a great recipe for making 'simple seitan' in our Veganomicon recipe book. Seitan is basically wheat gluten, with a few more ingredients to add some more flavor. Sometimes you may see it at Asian restaurants under the vegetarian section labeled as mock duck. You can also purchase it in the organic/natural food refrigerated section pre-made and ready to use. But it is expensive to buy and really easy to make.

When I've had it in the past, its been OK, but it tastes like what it is, flour. I personally am not a huge fan of eating chewy chunks of flour - just not my thing I guess. But with this simple seitan recipe, it tastes great! I don't taste the flour taste at all! I made seitan cutlets with mustard sauce last night, and BBQ seitan sandwiches a week or two ago. You do have to like mustard to like the sauce, but if you do it is great! And it is not yellow as you might imagine - due to the red wine it is more of a purple color!

The recipe for simple seitan uses 1 cup of vital wheat gluten. If you're into making bread, you'll know what this is. I purchase this at Wal-mart in the baking isle, probably for about $1-$2 a box. Mix this with 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast(this can also be found in the natural food section). Add 1/2 cup cold veg. broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 2 cloves of pressed garlic. Mix with a wooden spoon, then knead for a couple minutes and separate into 3 pieces. The seitan then needs to be cooked in a stockpot with 8 cups of veg. broth and 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Bring it to a boil, and once it boils turn the heat to low and simmer for one hour with the lid partially on. Let cool once done and your setian is ready to use!

The first time I made this I sliced mine into thin strips, fried it in olive oil, then placed into a pan with BBQ sauce to marinate. Then we fried them again.. and made sandwiches. Yum! Not the healthiest of meals, but definitely yummy! Plus being vegan, we don't eat a whole lot of fat, so we have to make sure we get enough somehow! This is a good way!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

YMCA

The kids and I are now members of the YMCA. Alex and I stopped by on Tuesday while Faye and Drew were at school and signed us up for a membership. I've been wanting to join a gym for awhile, but I was unsure as to which one. I previously went to the Fitness Center before Alex came along and I loved it. But it is pricey and not very close to home. And the YMCA has a pool and lots of kid activities! Actually, there are 2 pools. I hadn't heard great things about the YMCA, and in fact it is not the nicest gym I've ever seen. There are currently two locations in Champaign, one on Church street that is in a very large old house that has been adapted. This is where the pools are located. The other is over on Mattis behind Aldi, and has a basketball court, gymnastics, and upstairs a fitness center. Apparently they are going to be moving to a new location later this year, so I can't wait!

The YMCA has open swim every night from 7-9 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5pm, so I thought this would be a great way to get the kids out of the house and use some of their energy this winter! Faye loves swimming, so she went with me first on Tuesday night. They have open swim in the small pool, which is actually not that small. They keep the water warmer in this pool - it is 90 degrees, so it is like bathwater when you step in. I loved that! The locker rooms are not so nice, but they work I guess. The scary part is getting down to the pool. There are actually 3 locker rooms on 3 different floors - and another really small fitness center hidden someplace in there - this is a very old and crazy house, so there are stairs everywhere! We had to walk down a really creepy/wet/cold stairway to get down to the pool. But the swimming was great and we had a great time.

On Wednesday mornings they have a family gym time at the gymnastics gym, so I took the kids. They LOVED it! Drew has been telling me he wants to do gymnastics. This was another reason I joined the YMCA. They offer gymnastics classes and at a reduced rate to members. The kids were able to run around the gym, jump in the pit and on trampolines, walk on the balance beam, and swing from the bars and rings. The 'pit' brought back a lot of memories. Its been a long time since I've been in a gymnastics gym. We used to have to do conditioning in the pit, where we'd have to jump for like 10 minutes in little pieces of foam. Your legs would be like jelly by the time 10 minutes was up. I can't say I miss that part!! There were about 6 or 7 other little kids there, mostly girls, and they were all wearing leotards. Faye wasn't sure what they were, but she knew she wanted one. She's been asking me every day since why I haven't bought one for her. OK - looks like I'll be out shopping for a leotard for her today.

Drew went with me to the pool on Thursday night. He does not like the water quite as much as Faye, but the more he is swimming the more he is starting to like it. He doesn't like water in his face at all, but he did get splashed quite a few times and he didn't complain once! Hopefully I'll get the kids in swim lessons there soon!!

I haven't taken Alex yet - but I guess the water would be warm enough for him. They do have baby swim classes that I could take with him while the kids are at preschool so we may try that. I joined mainly so I could get out of the house a little by myself and start running again, but I don't know when I'll have time for that now with all these other activities!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

New mattresses


Andy reads slickdeals everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day I think. Usually he is looking for good deals on computer parts or electronics. I am never surprised when the UPS man shows up at our door with a package. It is always for Andy and it is almost always computer parts. This probably happens so regularly I am surprised on the days the UPS man doesn't come to our house. A couple weeks ago he happened to see there was a sale on memory foam mattresses. We desperately needed new mattresses for Faye and Drew's bed. We bought the cheapest mattresses we could find when we first got their bed. We figured with potty training, etc, it would not be a good idea to have nice mattresses. We were right!!




Their new mattresses arrived tonight! The kids were so thrilled! They were very wound up and running all over the house yelling and screaming. Wow! They went to bed willingly though, excited to try out their new beds. I truly wish I had a little of their energy. Alex is getting his third tooth and maybe more now, so he has been keeping us up at night. At least 3 nights this week he was up every hour or even half hour sometimes. He woke up happy this morning, smiling and giggling - at 5:30am. It is hard to try and ignore him when he is talking and giggling and being so cute, even at such an early time!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Alex standing

I actually had dinner in the oven and started washing the dishes by the time Andy was home from work tonight. That is a very rare occurrence these days, as it is very difficult to make dinner with 3 little kids all wanting something from me. But Alex was content to sit in his high chair and play with a whisk and bowl, and Drew and Faye were playing 'Ponyville' in their room.

So when Andy got home, we sat down and watched the news while dinner cooked and the kids played. Alex sat on the floor by me playing with some toys. All of a sudden, he grabbed on to my leg and pulled himself up to standing. He was very proud of himself! He then forgot that he needed to hold on and almost fell over, but I did manage to grab him in time before he fell. Our little baby is growing up!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years!!

We had a good New Years Eve! All 3 kids made it up till midnight, and all 3 kids were out of bed by 8am!! They actually had no trouble staying up that late. Andy and I were getting really sleepy though. What is with our kids??? I thought kids went to bed early and got up early? We apparently have some night owls. I can't blame them I guess. I can usually stay up forever, but I hate getting up in the morning. Every morning I complain and tell Andy, "I don't want to get up!" We had dinner, the kids watched Cars, and then we played a few games of CandyLand and Hi Ho Cherry O. They love to play these games. I am terrible at the Hi Ho game. I never win. It is amazing that I have never yet won a game. You spin the spinner and do what it says, but I just never win. Faye is the same way at CandyLand. She'll make it almost to the top, then she'll get Plumpy and be back at the bottom again. And she just giggles and giggles...Drew on the other hand likes to cheat. If he gets something he doesn't like, he just spins again till he gets what he wants, or he moves his piece when nobody is looking. We really have to watch him!!



We decided to try out a new recipe for New Years Eve from the new cookbook Andy bought me for my birthday,
Veganomicon. I haven't had much time for cooking since Alex was born, so we haven't really used it much. Everything we have tried has been great, but all the recipes do require a bit more work. We looked through and decided to try Grilled Yuca Tortillas with Tropical salsa. If you've never heard of yuca before, neither had I(it is different than a Yucca, which I have heard of). It is basically a potato. Once peeled it looks like a white potato, but it tastes more like a sweet potato. It was really yummy and I am definitely going to be buying these more often. We found them at Meijer near the avocados. They are cooked the same as a regular potato, so that was easy. I peeled and chopped them, then boiled until they were soft. Next I sauteed garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno pepper in olive oil until it was really soft, then added some corn and sauteed that too. They you mashed the potato, added the sauteed ingredients, as well as lime juice and salt and pepper, and put the mixture into a tortilla. Then I folded the tortilla in half, brushed it with olive oil, and cooked it in our cast iron pan until crispy on both sides. They were very tasty just like this, without any salsa. We did make salsa though, with one chopped avocado, one tomato, one mango, some lime juice, and a little fresh cilantro. It was good, but I imagine it would be really good in the summer with a fresh tomato from our garden and a mango or pineapple that is actually ripe! The tortillas would also be good with guacamole too, so we may try that next time! The kids even ate some, although I did add some soy cheese to their tortilla to convince them to try it.



I made a chocolate pecan pie for dessert. I love love love this pie! It probably has about a thousand calories a slice, but it is so worth it!! I tried making some new soy ice cream too - I used coconut milk, soy milk, silken tofu, and sugar. I blended it all up and threw it in our ice cream maker and it was really yummy on top of our warm pecan pie. It had a lot more flavor from the coconut milk than just plain vanilla ice cream! Yummy!!




Yes, I do realize my pictures are very poor. I think I'll have to talk Andy into buying me a nicer camera. hint hint... and then I'll have to actually learn how to use it!