Thursday, November 27, 2008

First Thanksgivings!

We had 5 people in our home today who were eating Thanksgiving dinner for the first time! I got photos of all of them--just not together. In addition to Ryan's immediate family and Grandma Leatherman, we had a friend from Turkey and 3 from Korea.

Here was the menu (Have I mentioned I really do like cooking? It's finding the time to do it that proves to be challenging.):

  • Vegetable Tray with AE dip
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Turkey with Cranberry Sauce
  • Stuffing (Grandpa Leatherman's recipe)
  • Mashed Potatoes a la Grandma Leatherman
  • Black Bean Couscous Salad
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie (Thanks Susan!)
  • Chocolate Cake from last night

We really enjoyed introducing the turkey and stuffing to our friends from abroad. It's also been a beautiful day, and Stephen has been to the park and the guys even played football in the street in front of the house.

Piano Lesson

I was fortunate enough to capture Abby's first piano lesson.

For Heidi and Anthony

... and anyone else who is interested!

KFC Family Traditions

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Great Grandma

Great Grandma Leatherman is joining us for Thanksgiving here in Urbana. We decided to celebrate her birthday (which was last week) before the festivities tomorrow. So I whipped up this chocolate cake, which was pretty disastrous at times, but tasted spectacular. Stephen helped me decorate it with M&Ms--his personal favorite.

Now we have Dave, Sue, and John also in for a few days, and we're looking forward to a feast tomorrow and time that we can all spend together.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Naptime Chores

Me to Abby: If you aren't going to take a good afternoon nap, then you're going to help in the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Slice of Life

Some of you have commented that you like knowing a little about what our daily life is like here. So here is what we are doing right now.

I am trying to get a little time on the computer to check email, look for a few things online, etc. Abby took an earlier nap because she was exhausted by our outing this morning, so now she's awake and sitting on the floor next to me, chewing on a little Jamaican purse. Stephen is up in his room where he is supposed to be going to sleep. Naps are becoming an occasional occurrence, though I don't think he's anywhere near ready to be done with some alone, quiet time in the afternoon. He has already yelled down to me: "TOE!! TOE!!" This is what he says when he needs me to put the blanket on him again. Apparently, his toe is not covered. Then, I usually hear him repeating a certain word over and over again; presumably he is learning to say it better. Today it was Eleanor. I heard: "Eleanor. Nor. Nor. Nor. Eleanor. Nor ..." (you get the picture)

A Day of Firsts

Probably the most significant "first" that happened today was Abby crawling. Now, don't get any pictures in your mind of her getting up on all fours and making a run for the border. She generally goes backwards instead of forward, and usually she gets so frustrated that she isn't going anywhere that she just rolls onto her back and cries for me to come and get her. But she is doing a very earnest army crawl, and I'll be curious to see how many days I have before she's zooming across the room. We figured she'd crawl sooner than her not-in-any-hurry brother, who crawled at 11 months!

Stephen's firsts include pretending to feed Abby's baby doll. I saw him doing it and it was all I could do to not laugh out loud. I asked him what he was doing and he just said, "milk!" I told him that he was being very nice to Abby's baby. My mom said it's good: he's thinking of someone else's needs. (I happen to think he's also imitating mommy.) Another bit of unusual behavior from him was that he asked to go to bed tonight. He put his head on a pile of laundry in the living room, about half an hour before I was going to put him to bed. He said, "sleepy." Sure enough, he went right to sleep when I put him down.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two Peas in a Pod

Stephen has loved being shoved around in the laundry basket for a long time now. When my parents were here the other day, he would get in and ask grandpa and grandma to push him. I was holding Abby and she started giggling at him, and then was lunging as if she wanted to get in, too. Figuring it was safe enough since she can sit on her own now, I plopped her down next to him. She loved it! She is growing and changing so much and it's fun and more difficult at the same time. She is a typical kid in that she might have 20 things she can play with on the floor around her, and she'll want the 1 toy of Stephen's that she's not supposed to have.

Stephen has been trying to figure out what it is that Ryan really does during the day. He throws words out when Ryan leaves: "teacher" "saxophone" "truck" "keyboard" "school" "bike." And I explain to him what daddy is going to be doing while he is gone.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Cold

It's finally getting cold here. The furnace has kicked on; the mittens and hats have come out of the winter bin; and we can't lazily leave the front door open all the time!

Ryan was with me when we made our first bundled outing. The kids don't need mittens and hats just from the house to the car, but we were walking downtown and I knew it would just be too chilly. We had to go to Heel to Toe to get some Birkenstocks for me to help with my new predicament: plantar fasciitis.

Ryan was up in Chicago today to hear his professor perform. But he's back and working on his project that's due this week. The kids and I managed just fine, thanks to leftovers, the Urbana Library, and a frozen pizza.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Things That Are, and Are Not, Hilarious

Stephen has recently been categorizing. I think he gets this from his grandfather. My dad is great at Scattergories. I think he has every vocabulary word in his head organized alphabetically. So when the megadie rolls an "L" then you can bet you'll see leprechaun, Lincoln Logs, La Leche League, Latvia, and many more clever vocab on his answer sheet. He just discards every word in his brain that doesn't start with L and figures out the answers lickety split.

So back to Stephen. He is realizing that many words sound alike but are actually different. The other day I overheard him saying slowly, over and over again: "Salsa. Sausage. Sauce." Then today I told him something was "awesome." He looked at me and said, "Office. Awesome." (Say them out loud. They do sound alike.) Then he started laughing hysterically. Now I realize that is not actually funny. But when your 2-year-old thinks it is, then the laughter is contagious. We both had a good laugh over those 2 words this morning.

It's been a rough switch over to daylight savings time. This is the part that is not hilarious. Abby has adapted just fine, but Stephen's still on the old schedule. That just means we stay up late and get up early. And what it also has meant is that Stephen hasn't been getting nearly enough sleep and has thus been pretty difficult at times. It would suffice to say that I've been learning I need to have more patience.