Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

Riley has started counting this week and by that I mean she is saying the number in the correct order 1-3. She almost has 1-5, but she keeps skipping four before yelling "FIVE!" with a flourish.

She has become obsessed with showing the world her shoes. She will walk up to complete strangers and say "See?" balancing herself on one foot to lift up the other. She will continue to say see until they acknowledge that they did in fact see her little shoes.

Her speech gets better each day and yesterday she found a little flashlight toy that her Aunt Brenda had given her on our trip to Gigi and Papa's a few weeks ago. She came running over to Matt with it turned on waving it and said, "Daddy, see, see? 'Fashyight' "

Just now she found the camera on the counter (sans battery as it's busy charging) and just yelled "Mama, see? CHEESE!" while she held it up to her face.

We're desperately trying to avoid the swine flu by putting antibacterial gel on our hands after we touch things in public or visit the park and especially before we eat anything. She's gotten to the point that when we leave the park she actually will hold out her hands and say "Mama, rub?"

Her favorite tv show is still Mickey Mouse Clubhouse after a brief break with Little Einsteins. Her favorite episode of the moment is when Mickey plays hide and seek with Donald. Lately we catch her walking around the house saying, "ipto, ipto, ipto Gotcha! OOOH! Sorrreee Minnie!"

Remember this picture? Well, we're heading out today with some friends despite what weather.com is saying to try and get another one of these. Wish us luck and check back for pumpkin pictures later!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dear Fall

Dear Fall,

You are here and that is great, but your beautiful foliage, mums and happy scarecrows just aren't cutting it. I want to go back to the pumpkin patch. I have big plans for the pumpkin patch you see. I want to pick my own pumpkin, ride the slides, play in the corn, go on the cow train and eat an apple dumpling...or two. But Fall, so far your weather has not been cooperating and it's making me sad. Gigi even gave me her tiny pumpkin to try and cheer me up, but clearly it's just not the same.

So, Fall I beg of you, no more rain on this last weekend that we can visit the patch. Please give me sunny skies that are good for watching the pigs race and P-rex crush pumpkins. Or this will be the best pumpkin picture we have of me this year.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Daddy's Girl 8

He's got a good "business" face honed over years of teaching, designed to stop a third grader in their tracks.

But he just can't beat her "business" face honed over 21 months, designed to bend a Daddy to her will.

Friday, October 23, 2009

There's a rumbly in her tumbly

Riley and I went swimming yesterday and spent a good 45 minutes going back and forth across the pool. Riley (and I) was exhausted and hungry when we were done, but armed with a cheese stick snack I figured she'd be okay until we met our friends for dinner.


We got to the place a little early so I decided to make a quick stop at Wal-Mart. As soon as we enter the store Riley stops mid Halloween candy aisle, grabs her baby belly and in the saddest of voices starts saying, "Ow. Ow. Ow Mama. Mama, OW!" At first I thought she had swallowed too much pool water, but then I kneeled down next to her and I could hear it. A small growling and rumbling in her little tummy.

With no more treats in hand I did what any mother any crazy mother would do in order to finish her errand. I grabbed a bag of Teddy Grahams from the Halloween section ripped it open and gave her one. And was immediately rewarded with a "Thank you, Mama. YUM, YUM!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Swing, Swing

Swing, swing

Wild as can be

Riley's a monkey in the tree!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Gigi, Julia and Me Project

Last weekend we made the trek to Gigi and Papa's to visit and celebrate birthdays! Little did I know Gigi had a big birthday surprise in store.

This summer we both saw the Julie and Julia Project and loved it! In fact Papa even bought Gigi the Mastering the Art of French Cooking and another Julia Child cookbook she was so inspired. I should mention that Gigi is a wonderful cook. I should also mention that I am a 50/50 cook, but I can sous chef like nobody's business.

At Gigi's house you get to choose the menu for your birthday dinner. Over the years and birthdays we've had her yummy garlic shrimp, creamy alfredo with red pepper chicken, and garlic zuppe to name a few. But this year Papa upped the ante and requested Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon. In English, this is a fancy name for Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms.

So with RB in bed, I rolled up my sleeves and offered my prepping services. Now I know what you're thinking. Beef stew, not so difficult, just throw some stuff in a pot and let it boil away. That's what I was thinking too. Until Gigi informed me that the first step in this particular recipe was to cut the bacon into lardons and boil it. Scusi, what is a lardon of boiled bacon? Then I discovered that the second step was to cut a rump roast into 2 inch pieces. I did my best, but I'm not a butcher. Then those pieces had to be dried one by one with a paper towel so that they would properly brown. Trust me, you don't skip the drying part.

It only got trickier from there. Those simple onions and mushrooms both had their own recipes that took up a whole page before they could be added to our beef stew. 2.5 hours of cutting, boiling, drying, sauteing, peeling, measuring and simmering and 4 recipes later "it" was finally ready to go into the oven and I was ready to crash. Gigi soldiered on and kept a close eye on all our hard work for the next 3 hours.

Now, I've never been to France or even had any food remotely French, but here's what I learned from my first foray into French cooking.
1. The French know their way around a kitchen. That was the best beef stew I've ever had and I almost feel like it's insulting to call it stew.
2. I know why the French drink.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Like a Book

Setting: 645 am driving TG to work.

Me: Do you have anything for breakfast?
TG: No.
Me: Well we can stop and get something. We could swing by Dunkin Donuts or if you make up your mind now we could go to McD's or Starbucks.
TG: I don't care. All of those sound good to me.
Me: (ranting voice) UGH! I hate having to decide. I've even discovered that I choose friends that are like me too. They can't decide and I can't decide and it's quite stressful.
TG: Well, I would decide but I really don't care either way and if I choose you are going to be upset because you had one of the other ones in mind.
Me: Hmm. What makes you say that?
TG: I know this because you wouldn't have given me three choices if you didn't have one of those three in mind. You know I'd be perfectly happy to stop by Dunkin Donuts, but you must not want that because I was given two other options.
Me: Yea, you're right. I want McD's.

5 years of marriage down and that man can read me like a book. A book of crazy that somehow he keeps wanting to read.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In This Moment

My very talented photographer friend sent me this picture she snapped of Riley while we were all out enjoying the day together. She has an absolute gift for capturing children candidly and she's done it again with our princess. I wish I could share Riley with you all in person everyday and that you could see her as I see her, but second to that I offer you this. Our princess in this moment. Just as she is. Darling baby hair flying, deep brown eyes staring you down, one wondering eyebrow raised and her sweet mouth poised to unleash a verbal firestorm on you sharing her latest thoughts and world observations.

In this moment, in all her 20 1/2 month old glory Riley is growing by leaps and bounds.

Words are becoming phrases and phrases are quickly becoming sentences and questions. She comments on the weather and she loves to give a running commentary of what she's doing. She searches for things and people and calls "Wheah rrrr u?" Her manners abound and she consistently says please, thank you and bless you. She has learned to say her name this month and if we ask her what it is she will take one sweet baby finger stab herself in the belly and say "RIYEEE". Last, but not least Riley has finally given in and calls me Mama and I love nothing more than putting her to bed and having her say "Night Night Mama, uv you."

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Well, sort of. Physically she's still tall and she's still big and very, very active. She runs, and "sumps" and climbs and slides. She swings and hangs and tests the very limits of my heartrate and reflexes with her endless daring. But she's tough too and it takes more than just a bump or a spill to get more than a pause, rub of the area, and "ow" before she's off and running again.

I can't wait to see where her talents lie as she grows, but for now she has so many interests. These days it's mostly active things like the park or playing outside in the cul-de-sac with a bevy of children. She sings too and will often just belt out "e i e i oooooooo!" or "row row row". Pretend play is high on her list and Riley spends lots of time with her baby dolls and loves giving them her version of mama snuggles. And although more often than not she eats her crayons, she can be found coloring occasionally.

Sugar and spice and everything nice with just a pinch of cayenne is what little Riley's behavior is made of. She is happy, still loves to laugh and is full of life. That "heat" she inherited just kicks in sometimes and she gets angry and has plenty to say when she is. Tantrums are less frequent now and most days we just giggle our way through start to finish.

In this moment, I think Riley is beautiful, smart, and captivating. I love her more than I thought was possible and I'm just so proud she's mine.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Duck, Duck...Duck

On a wet summer day we met up with our besties and checked out the local fair for the first time. We saw a lot of animals and not much else, but it's still fun to get out of the house, enjoy the fresh country air and hang out with friends.

Besides enjoying a lunch of funnel cake and diet coke we also enjoyed the Optimist Club's tent of children's activities. After sitting on the ring toss (seen in the far back) and being admonished for sitting on the ring toss, Riley made her way over to the duck pool. I think there was an objective to this game that involved more than plucking them out one by one to investigate them, but she didn't care. In our world "ucks" plus "wawa" equals FUN.