Monday, April 30, 2012

Things I Want to Remember About My 19 Month Olds

Annabelle and Stephen are doing so many cute things lately and I just want to remember them:

  • They love Elmo, especially Elmo’s Song, which they ask for by saying, “La La? La La?” We usually let them watch Elmo videos on YouTube during breakfast so that is always the first thing they say when we get downstairs.
  • Stephen likes to crawl into your lap and grab your cheeks and say, “Cheeks” and then proceeds to give you an anatomy lesson of your face including, “Eyes. Nose. Mouth. Chin.” 
  • Annabelle loves shoes. She has slept with her shoes. The first thing she says in the morning when she wakes up is, “Shoe-ies? Shoe-ies?” She stole some other kid’s shoes at daycare the other day and ran off with them. She likes to put two or three pairs in her arms and carry them around.
  • When you ask Stephen what a monster says, he replies, “Roar!” When you ask him what else a monster says, he replies, “COOKIES!”
  • When he get ready to go downstairs, Stephen reaches out and says, “Hand? Hand” and then holds my hand all the way down. One time he held it going up the stairs and it reminded me of a three legged dog.
  •  Annabelle calls Stephen, “Buddy” and “Ci-Ci”.  Stephen calls Annabelle, “Ahh-Bell” and “Sissy” (which Brian hates, but I LOOVVVEEE).
  • Annabelle has started disciplining Stephen by saying, “NO! NO! Buddy, TIME OUT!”
  • When you get mad at Stephen or speak harshly to him, he gets the saddest pout you have ever seen and his eyes well up with tears and you can see him trying to hold himself together. Sometimes he will go put himself in time out.
  •  They call popsicles “Dopadees”.
  • Stephen has started saying “No” when I think he really means “Yes!”
  • When they are saying bye to someone, they also add, “See Ya!”

Saturday, December 31, 2011

16 Months and Going Strong!!!

Annabelle Rae and Stephen Michael are 16 months old and it is pretty much super awesome all the time. Except for when it is not - like when Stephen wakes up at 2:00 in the morning on a weekly basis or when Annabelle gets mad that she has to keep her pants off and throws herself on the floor in a fit of rage. But most of the time it is pretty awesome.

Words We Know!
  • Stephen: Button, Grandpa (sounds like Wam-pa!), Nana, Mommy, Daddy, Buddy, Mimi, Puppy, Oh Yes, Woah!, Auntie, Addy, Abby (Abby Cadaby), Elmo, Bath (Ba! Ba!)
  • Annabelle: Nanny (for Nana), Jo-Jo, Mommy, Daddy, Elmo, Juice, This, Mimi (which she equates with the phone), Abby Cadabby, Elmo, Puppy, Bath (Ba! Ba!)
Sounds We Know!
  • Santa Clause says, "Ho Ho Ho"
  • The Puppy says, "Woof Woof"
  • The Choo Choo Train says, "Choo Choo"
  • The Car says, "Vroom"

Sign Language We Know!
  • Please
  • Thank You
  • Milk
  • More
  • Water
  • Apple
  • Baby
  • We are in the process of learning "I'm Sorry"
Stuff We Understand
  • Um, pretty much everything.
  • They can throw their diapers or anything else you tell them to away in the trash can
  • They lay down when it is time to get their diaper changed
  • Kiss Kiss
  • Dance
  • Hands Down! Touch the Ground! (They do a Downward Dog position on the floor and then you flip them over)
  • They can point to their Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, Cheeks, Toes, Feet, and Belly.
  • Around 6:30 every night, they go to the stairs and say, "Ba! Ba! Ba!" b/c they are ready for their bath. Sometimes they get very upset if we aren't giving them a bath that night.
  • How to brush their teeth

Other Stuff
  • Annabelle loves to wear her jacket all the time. She gets very upset if you won't let her put it on or if you try to take it off too soon.
  • She also really likes to get naked. We have at least one meltdown a day in which she wants to take her pants off and I will not let her.
  • They received Elmo and Abby Cadabby dolls for Christmas. They learned their names very quickly.
  • Stephen loves to talk and babble.
  • Annabelle associates the phone with her Aunt Mimi. Anytime she sees a cell phone, she walks around saying, "Mimi, Mimi, Mimi"
  • Whenever Stephen hears the train go by, he points the window and goes, "Choo Choo!!"
  • They definitely understand when they are being disobedient.
  • Annabelle's way of venting, it seems, is to bang her head on the ground.
  • Stephen's most annoying habit is whining, "Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah" continuously. OMG.
  • They are both great cuddlers sometimes. 
  • They loved loved loved my parent's dog JoJo. 

Favorite Memory
Last month, Stephen was up from 2:30-5:00. He cried and cried and we were going in and out trying all of our "tricks".  Here's a bottle. You have teddy. I will hold you. I will rock you. Daddy will hold you. Daddy will rock you. Finally Brian was laying with him in the guest room and Stephen is almost asleep and then he starts whispering to Brian, "Hi! Hi!" and then starts blowing in his face. He then starts baby babbling and Annabelle hears from the other room and starts babbling back. It was 3:30 am and they were just talking back and forth across the hall. I ran downstairs to find the video camera but by the time I got back upstairs, Brian had put Stephen back in his crib.  He did not think it was as cute as I did.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Brian & Jen Show: Creative Cakes

Brian and I undertook the challenge of making a Yuengling Beer Bottle Cake for one of our coworkers. 

After a bit of research, we began the process.

First, we got lots of supplies and ingredients. (Spoiler Alert, we had to go out and buy more) and a Yuengling bottle to use for inspiration.

Second, we baked some cake with my adorable teal mixer.

Third, we got real frustrated because we didn't let the cake cool much and it broke. And we baked another one and it broke too. So we had to get more cake. 

Fourth, we learned this technique called "Crumb Coating" where you put a thin layer of icing on the cooled cake and seal it so when you put the real icing on, it isn't all "crumby".  

Fifth, Brian measured the beer bottle and then scaled up, marked the cake with toothpicks, and cut it.

When he did that, we had a lot of cake left over that we had to throw away. It would have made Funn Matt sad.

Sixth, I made a bunch of buttercream icing. 

Using LOTS of sugar!

Then, I sat down to make the beer bottle label.  The plan was to use a Wilton Sugar Sheet and some Food Writer markers to freehand draw the Yuengling label onto the sheet. 
This. Was. Frustrating.

So then I had the fantastic idea to print the label and trace it onto the sugar sheet. 
This worked MUCH better.

That was probably the hardest part. After that, we made some sweet (literally) green and maroon icing. The green was for the beer bottle and the maroon was for the label border. 

After icing the cake, the finishing touches included the maroon border, bottleneck label and the bottle cap. The labels and the cap were all done with sugar sheets. 

The finished product turned out pretty well, I think!

We are currently thinking about going into retirement...until the next time someone asks us to bake them a creative cake and we say, "yeah, that would be awesome!"

Monday, October 10, 2011

13 Months of Awesome

 Yesterday I told Annabelle to go get me the “Daddy Loves Me” book. And she got me the “Daddy Loves Me” book. And then I told her to get me the "Babies" book. And she got me the "Babies" book. And then I told her to get me the "Elmo" book. And she got me the Elmo book. She. Is. A. Genius.

We let them try chilli. Annabelle LOVES it. Loves Loves Loves it. Stephen…not so much. He makes this horrible(ly cute) face and shakes his head and reaches his arms up and coughs and you can tell he is just thinking, “no no no no no no no no no”.  So I made him try it a few more times…to make sure he didn’t like it…and to see that reaction again.

 Things They Definitely Know
Please (Sign Language), Head, Nose, Toes, Feet, More (Sign Language), Light (Sign Language),  “So Big!”, Give Kisses, How to Dance, The difference between getting me a book and a toy, Washing Their Hair, Stephen can kind of feed himself with a spoon, Water (Sign Language)

Things Seasoned Moms Would Shrug Their Shoulders at but Are New To Me:

We have entered a super clingy phase.   Annabelle and Stephen are no longer content to do anything by themselves. I must be there. Sitting with them. I don’t necessarily have to play with them but I cannot do anything else. Like empty the dishwasher. Or check email. Or go to the bathroom. No sir. I must sit. And read Go Dog Go for the 17th time. I kind of love it.
They fight over me. And I love it. Fight may be a strong word. But if one is in my lap (usually Annabelle) the other (usually Stephen) throws himself on my and finds a way to edge her out and take over.  It is pretty cute. When I sit on the couch, one throws themselves with arms up at my lap begging to be picked up and then the other one comes and pushes the first one out of the way and they just go back and forth. It is cute. If I am holding one, the other one is right there with their arms up begging to be picked up too. They weigh over 20lbs each. It is getting heavy. But at least I am getting a work out. 

Their 18 month clothes fit better than I think they should. They are definitely still big but not as big as they should be in my head. Last night, we didn’t have any clean PJs for Annabelle so I pulled out one of the 18th month onsies, thinking “this is going to be HUGE”. It was not huge. It was a little baggy. But it fit. And that kind of made me sad.

They are doing weird food things. There are some days where Annabelle wants her milk first and won’t eat a bite until she has had that. Then sometimes she will only eat one thing at a time until it is finished. Sometimes she needs sips of milk between each bite. And sometimes she needs two bites of this, two bites of that. Stephen does not seem to like milk much. He takes a few sips of it and throws his sippy cup on the floor. He has no interest. Oh well.

They, like, know stuff. It is CRAZY. They know where their head is and where their toes are. They know what the light is. They know how to act “strong” and how to dance. If I say, “Go get me a book” Annabelle goes and gets a book. Stephen can put the right shapes through the right holes on this little toy (picture of shape sorter toy).  Annabelle points to pictures of Brian and says “Da-Da!”  They can do paddy cake - especially the “roll-it” part. I am just not ready for this level of genius.

When I leave the house in the mornings, they go to the window, move the curtains and wave and smile and stick their tongues out. It is the sweetest thing in the world. And it makes me want to cry. I am so ready to stay home with them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The 90's Called. They Want Your Cuffed Jeans Back.

For some reason I am currently obsessed with Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux. I think it is because I got on a Friends kick recently and remembered how much I loved Rachel Karen Green.  I may or may not have a Google News alert sent to my email about them. I think my favorite nickname for them is "JenTheroux" or perhaps "Justifer" or maybe even "Jenthrax".  I don't know. 

I am not, however, too excited about this look that she seems to keep wearing:

What is the deal with the rolled up pants and weird shoes? I am not a fashionista by any means but I really don't want this look to roll down to us common folk next year. Or maybe it has already rolled down and I am just supper out of it. But still.  Say it ain't so.

I am a HUGE fan of her big grey scarf though. So if you can find one that is not 17 trillion dollars, please let me know. I love scarves!  And those Aviators.


Speaking of the 90's - I discovered this :


All I will say is that's not Chynna Phillips singing back up...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Fall Gift For You!

PSLs Without The Calories!

A few years ago, I was raving to my friend Kelly about the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) at Starbucks. I went on and on about how great it was so she decided to order one.  I ordered after her and got a chai tea.  She was like, “Wait? What? You’re not getting one?” very incredulously. And I said, “Oh no. There are so many calories in that thing, I can’t drink that.”  I am a terrible friend.

So here we are, four years later, I can finally make it up to her.  I got the recipe for a low-cal PSL substitute that basically tastes like the real deal – terrible sugar/caffeine afterbreath and all.

1 Grande Bold Starbucks Coffee of the Day
2-3 Pumps of Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Add your own Splenda and Half & Half

You are left with an [estimated] 90 calorie version vs. the normal 380 calories.  So put on your scarf and drink up!

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 Things About Marathon Training You Didn't Know

  1. Diaper Rash cream works like a gem to prevent chafing.
  2. Ice Baths are the real deal. Take them after every run longer than 10 miles. 15 minutes of torture is worth it. And wear wool socks so you don’t get hypothermia and have to get your feet amputated.
  3. It turns out that you need a crap-ton of Gels, Electrolyte Drinks, and Water. At least 30-60 grams of carbs PER HOUR!  That is like 2 gel packs an hour. That is about 5 times more than the two Gus that I took during my last marathon. I am excited to see if I don’t feel like my stomach is being ripped out of my body after I finish this race.
  4. On that note, it is really true that if you aren’t going to bother with nutrition and hydration then you might as well not bother with training.
  5. When you think you have had enough water, you haven’t. Drink more.
  6. The key to long runs is breaking it up in your head mentally so you only focus on small increments. For example – an 18 mile run is actually 2 sets of 4.5 miles out and 4.5 miles back or 3 sets of 3 miles out and 3 miles back. A 12 mile run is only two sets of 3 out, 3 back. Mentla games work wonders.
  7. Running for over 4 hours gets boring. Doing anything for over 4 hours is boring. Except for watching good TV on DVD. Like Friends or Friday Night Lights. 
  8. Running for over 4 hours is hard and it hurts. Embrace it. Accept it. And Keep Moving Forward.
  9. Nesquick double chocolate milk is the perfect recovery drink. And thoughts of it get me through the last three miles every time.
  10. I start every run over 3 miles wondering if I will finish. And I am surprised every single time that I do finish. It never fails. It is a great feeling to complete something you really aren’t sure will happen.