Friday, October 31, 2008


Abby got her first doll today! It's a bitty baby from the American Girl company. My mom gave it to her and I was excited when it showed up on the front porch. So far she has enjoyed exploring its face.

I was also excited about the treasure we found while walking home from a friends' house this morning.

We are responsible for our own lawn care, but have no shed or garage for keeping a lawnmower. So even though it's fairly simple to track down a free or cheap push mower, we couldn't get one because we'd need to keep it in the basement. We've been looking without success for a used reel mower. They're over $100 new and we're probably only going to be here 1 or 2 years.

So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when we were walking home and I saw one for free by the side of the road.

The only problem was that I wasn't exactly close to home and I was also pushing a double stroller.

So (silly-looking) we went charging the rest of the way home. Pushing the stroller with one hand and pulling the new mower with the other.

The stay-at-home dads I met on the way told me it was a good mower and that it was a good find. (Though, come to think of it, neither of them offered to help me get home. Not everyone is like my husband and my dad.)

We're looking forward to a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Leatherman later today.

Go Hawkeyes!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Haircut and cameratime

We gave Stephen a haircut tonight. I also let him take his first picture.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Simplifying Ideas from Two Years of Parenting

Recently I've been reading some (emphasis on the "some" because I don't really have much time!) blogs I've run across to get ideas and see what some others are learning on their journeys. One of the more informative, down-to-earth, and encouraging ones I've run across is Keeper of the Home. On Saturdays, she invites others to post entries on their blogs about how they are simplifying their lives via something called Living Simple Saturdays, so I'm giving it a shot. I have definitely learned some things in these last 2 years and imagine if you ask me in 10 that I'll have an arsenal of many more!

1. A binder with essential information I posted about the Brain-in-a-Binder awhile ago, and I've adapted it to suit me. It just doesn't work for me to put everything in there, but what I have used it for has been great. It contains our commonly-used recipes, birthdays, and phone numbers.

2. Kids' clothes in the main living area We stumbled upon this one accidentally. We live in a small house, about the size of a 3-bedroom apartment. When moving in, we found that my big dresser wouldn't fit upstairs where 2 of the bedrooms are (the 2 we use as bedrooms), so into the dining room it went. I love it! Diapers and changes of clothes for 6-month-old Abby and 2-year-old Stephen right at my fingertips.

3. Trading meals with another family I'm sad to say this isn't happening right now but I'm always open if the right situation opens up! All of last year - right up until Abby was born in April - we cooked 6 nights a week. On Tuesdays, I had the evening off and our friends cooked for us and them. Then on Thursday it was our turn to cook for both families. It worked well because we both had a family of 3, and their son is the same age as ours, so picky-toddler issues were understood by both of us. We set some ground rules. It was okay to say we just couldn't do it if it was going to cause more stress. We only rarely cooked dessert. We decided not to try to "impress" each other and to just cook what we would normally cook.

4. A comfortable baby carrier This was nice to have for Stephen but it is essential with Abby. I do dishes, grocery shop, cook, and walk, all with my baby snuggled right up next to me. She still usually is on the front but I've recently started putting her on my back and that makes things even easier. I'll just link to Sue's post on this because she covered the bases.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy 'Birthday' Abby

Abby is 6 months old today!

What a joy it's been to see her first tooth appear a few weeks back, to coach her as she sits up for increasingly long periods of time, and to keep her from danger as she more accurately swipes at the objects of her affections.

She has been such a delightful child who hardly ever cries and sleeps well at night. She has begun some pretty cute babbling and seems to also enjoy playing with her lips, contorting them in any way she can.

She loves her brother and their interaction recently has been hilarious. Both Ryan and I stop whatever we're doing just to watch the two of them carry on.

As I type this (one-handed, I might add), she is sleeping on my shoulder. We're waiting for Stephen's Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan to cool down and Ryan is limo-driving. I'll be eating the soup, too, but mine is still on the stove :).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some thoughts, and a Dog Named Ufonff

Sometimes I read something that articulates exactly what I've been thinking, though I couldn't have come up with the words myself. That's how I felt when reading this entry by John Piper today.


I've always heard about black-eyed peas but I don't think I'd ever tried them ... until last night. Wasn't impressed. I just did a standard recipe with onions, garlic, green peppers. Kind of bland for me. So tonight I turned what was left into a cold salad with freshly chopped red onion, apple cider vinegar, and some more salt and pepper. Much better, but I think I still have some looking to do before I find something really yummy. Any ideas?


Tonight Stephen was walking his little plastic dog. He informed us that its name is "[fonf]." OK. Then he proceeded to tell us that the name also starts with the letter "U." So there you go. Stephen's dog named Ufonff, pronounced "fonf."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mr. Opinionated

I'm talking about the one in the front, wearing the orange shirt.

He generally gets upset when I try to take his picture, and starts shaking his head, saying "no no no." But when he notices the camera, and he wants me to take a picture, then it's fine. (Sound familiar, mothers of toddlers, or mothers of former toddlers?)

I was sick again today, but am feeling better, thanks to my wonderful husband who let me get quite a bit of rest and took Stephen out for an errand even though he (Ryan) has a huge project due on Tuesday.

In other news, we bought Abby her first toothbrush tonight. She also ate applesauce and seemed to like it. She seems to be trying to get up on all fours, but she doesn't use both arms and just ends up getting on her side and pivoting, frustrating herself in the process.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The View

Before retiring for the night, I thought I'd share the view I have as I check email, etc.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How do you explain to a toddler ...

... that the funny tingling sensation he feels in his foot is because his foot "fell asleep" while he was sitting on it and there is nothing mommy or daddy can do about it?

... that in some wooden puzzles the piece fits all the way in and in other puzzles it sticks up a little bit?

... that the very blanket that helped him sleep when he was cold the other night is now keeping him awake as he is trying to go to sleep? And that to be truly "just like daddy" he'd use the blanket in the cold but not when it's hot?

... that mommy's sorry: the spicy sauce on the pizza that burned your mouth was a new one that I'd never used before. Oops.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Home Sick

The sore throat I've had all week finally morphed into a head cold, and it's not much fun! I went ahead and canceled our morning plans so as not to exhaust myself and to keep from infecting our friends at a playdate. Stephen is doing remarkably well not leaving the house. (We always go somewhere in the morning, even if it's just around the block.)

I put Abby's new babylegs on her. They're cute and make diaper changes a little easier. Each one took me about 10 minutes, and that was even with Stephen on the couch trying to "help" me.

I watched The Italian this morning and it was pretty good. There was a little bad language but it was in Russian and therefore subtitled, so I didn't mind that Stephen was in the room with me.

Last night we grilled pork with a marinade I've used twice now. The recipe calls for massive amounts but I just scaled it back. Ryan really likes it, so we may end up stocking it in the fridge for regular use. We also needed to use up some apples but had no butter. I used canola oil and maple syrup and concocted an apple crisp that way. It wasn't really that crispy but Stephen's chants of "more more more" told me it was good.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Day with Abby

Stephen is at grandma and grandpa's, and having a great time there. I am so glad. I thought that today Abby and I'd do some things that we can't do when he's around. So we went to baby story time at the library. Now that he's discovered the train table, he doesn't really want to go listen to stories and sing songs at the library--he can do that at home! She napping now, but soon we'll go to TJMax and then take lunch to Ryan at school. I'm planning on making some baby leg warmers out of women's tube socks and am hoping to find some on sale.

It is raining, so that limits our options a little bit.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Visit from Auntie Em

We were privileged to have Emily staying with us last night, and then this evening she took Stephen with her up to my parents' house. I'm looking forward to a day and a half with just Abby - should be pretty relaxing! Stephen has been excited to go to grandma and grandpa's, and was only sad for a minute when he realized mommy wasn't going with him!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I am thankful today. Thankful that the car started when I tried it "just one more time" after calling Ryan this morning and telling him I was going to have to walk home.

I'm thankful because my purse was still outside when I went out to get it after being in the house for 2 hours already.

I'm thankful because the reason I realized it was missing was because Stephen was playing with his toy credit card and asked me if he could put it in my purse.