Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In Season: Blueberries

On Father's Day of all days Peter graciously accompanied me, his sometimes harebrained wife, out blueberry picking. There's nothing obviously harebrained about this except that our schedules necessitated that we go in the middle of the blistering hot afternoon.

Despite the heat (which really wasn't that bad in the shade) a good time was had by all. John was noticeably absent, being watched by friends. Which greatly contributed to our good time. Don't get me wrong, I almost always prefer to have him with us. But I don't think he would have had the patience to endure over an hour of berry picking in the heat. Maybe next year.

I love picking fruit for several reasons, all of which I've written about before. But here's a recap:

1) It's usually much cheaper. These blueberries were $2/lb. They're usually $3/qt at HEB.
2) It is a reason to get outdoors which is important to us despite the heat.
3) It facilitates good conversation.
4) You can buy in bulk, freeze the berries and use them for months.

I hope that this can be a family tradition of ours. I want John to grow up knowing where food comes from. I want him to see the connections between the way we treat our environment and how that effects the food that we eat, the water that we drink, the air that we breath etc.

We've been having blueberries in smoothies quite a bit. Here are a few recipes that I hope to try soon:

As always, I'll let you know if any are keepers!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Sign of the Times

So, John has started doing two signs. And it is so cute. I wish I could get video of him performing them but we don't have a video camera (not even on Peter's iPhone) and, if we did, he probably wouldn't do them in front of the camera. He tends to get very distracted by cameras. (Is it a little neglectful that we don't have a video camera? I kind of have a pang of regret while I'm typing this. What are we going to do in our twilight years if we don't have videos of John signing to watch?!)

He does the signs for "more" and "get down". It has been so fun to see him starting to communicate. However, the downside is that he now perpetually wants to get down. And most times it seems the answer is "no, we're not going to get down right now."

It's as if the ability to ask has heightened his expectation of the gratification of his demands. Poor guy. It's hard to live a life in which most of the stuff you want to do is forbidden by your mean mama who demands that you sit in your high chair while you eat your food!

I am glad that he has started picking up on some signs because I see no words on the horizon. Of course, it could happen really quickly. Maybe tomorrow he'll start spewing words like a fire hydrant spews water. But for now, I'm happy to see some form of non-crying communication.

The other day he worked himself into a tizzy trying to get underneath the china hutch where he does not fit. I was busy cleaning and wasn't paying him too much attention. I kept making comments about the futility of trying to crawl underneath when he simply will not fit, explaining that there are laws of physics (or geometry or thermodynamics or something...) at work that prevent us from passing through solid objects! Finally I realized that he was very distraught and it occurred to me that he might be trying to get to something that had fallen underneath. Bingo. Do you know what was the object of so much consternation:

Half an O. Seriously, he eats about a million per day. But that did not curb his determination to get that half.

Here he is happily eating the fruit of all of that frustration.

Yes, I let him eat off the floor.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011: A Cake Odyssey

We took a break from our Sunday pancakes in May because Peter had to work almost every Sunday. We started back up this month. But one week a friend came over to make us smoothies and last Sunday I made Toffee French Toast for Father's Day. But the first Sunday in June I made these Peach Buttermilk Pancakes. These were so good! They are my second favorite of all the pancakes I've made so far. The first being Orange Chocolate Chip.

The recipe calls for 2 cups of all purpose baking mix which I did not have. So I used this recipe reduced to yield 2 cups.

Back when I intended to post this at the beginning of June peaches were in season around here. I was hoping to make more peach recipes but with triple digit temperatures at the end of "spring" peach season ended really quickly!

Yesterday was only the first day of summer. Can you believe it? How many more days to go?

I'm going to go stand in front of the freezer now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day

I am so thankful for Peter who celebrated his second Father's Day on Sunday. And I know John shares my sentiments even though he may lack the articulation.

For a gift we, John and I, made a Father's Day flower pot:

This was more difficult than I had anticipated (why I thought it would be easy to neatly capture a squirming toddler's foot or hand print on a flower pot, I can't fathom.). John and I had differing artistic visions. His was more avant garde and included paint in his ears. But, with a little persuading (read: brute force) we were able to make this delightful pot. My plan was to plant a symbolic flower in it. Alas, meeting deadlines is not my forte. So, I didn't get that done by Father's Day morn when we presented the gift. But I still may do it. It's the thought that counts?

To celebrate on Sunday I made Toffee French Toast with Pecans for breakfast. This was excellent! The toffee sauce was delicious. As is everything that is made of butter, brown sugar and cream. But the french toast itself had a lovely flavor. This is definitely a great recipe for a special occasion. Or any day, really!

I hope everyone else had a lovely Father's Day!

Some pictures of John on Father's Day:

His clothes are a little bit big but isn't this a cute outfit?!

He got it for his birthday. (From Dawn, I think. Thanks Dawn! We love it!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If You Cook It, He Will Come

If you want to be friends with John, you only need to have one thing: food. Any kind of food, all kinds of food. If you have anything edible (or, I should say, anything that he considers edible), he will seek you out and not leave your side until every last morsel is consumed. You will never have such a loyal BFF!

It need not be expensive or gourmet food. Far from having discriminating tastes, he will be equally interested weather you happen to have dog food or ice cream.

One Sunday this month a friend of mine came over with her adorable 7.5 week old fluff ball of a puppy. We put John and the puppy on the floor to play. I went into the kitchen and when I came back, instead of playing with the puppy, John was on his hands and knees with his head hanging dejectedly, crying. I learned that he was upset because my friend would not give him any dog food. I only wish I'd taken a picture of this pitiful scene!

Of course, if you are hungry and you actually want to eat your food you might consider locking yourself in the bathroom and enjoying your snack there.

The pictures below capture his M.O. quite well. He starts out begging for a bite from Peter (despite the fact that he had just had lunch) then he takes a mini little stroll to give himself time to swallow. At which point he turns back for another bite. In this situation he came towards me because he was interested in the camera that I was holding. This goes on until Peter has made it clear that he has no more food.

Right now one of John's favorite things to eat is a smoothie. He LOVES smoothies. When he sees me getting the blender out in the morning to make one, he prances and frets in anticipation at my feet until he has his little smoothie in his hands. He becomes indignant when I have to take the cup away either because the smoothie is gone or, occasionally, to fill it up with more smoothie!

If you take this away from me, I will call CPS.

Monday, June 13, 2011

13 Months

Last month I didn't write much about what John was doing developmentally. Instead I posted about his birthday extravaganza which was quite exciting enough! So here's an update:

At 13 months he is walking full time. He falls frequently but he has also learned to stand on his own without pulling up on anything. He is climbing on furniture and we are working on training him to only sit on chairs, couches etc. I say " we only sit..." many thousands of times per day. The one exception is our futon in the study which we've decided to let him continue running around on because it makes him so happy! He knows how to get up and down without hurting himself.

Now that he's become a full-time biped, he's also got it in his noggin that he should run away from me. Particularly when he's holding something that he knows that he's not supposed to have, like my cell phone. The phone he's often able to get off of a table or dresser using another skill that he's honing: standing on tip-toes and reaching. That skill being enhanced by continued vertical growth. He can get to almost anything now, people, is what I'm saying!

He has taken a page out of the angsty teenager playbook. By which I mean that he likes to go in his room and close the door. (He loves closing doors in general.) Instead of brooding over the unfairness of life and how his parents don't know anything, however, he usually just looks at books. Lately I've let him stay in there for a while. There's nothing in the room that I know of that could be dangerous to him. He bangs on the door when he wants to come out.

He spends a lot of his day walking around the house picking up things in one room and depositing them in another. This makes for some strange findings at the end of the day. Like the colander in the study, board books in the kitchen, coasters in John's room and my underwear in the recycling bin. Yes that did happen. He pulled them out of a clean pile of laundry and put them into the recycling bin. I'm all for recycling but that's a little extreme for even me!

He started pointing and points at everything accompanied by an inquisitive little grunt. Still no discernible words or signs.

What a fun age is 13 months! There hasn't been a month yet where I haven't said that...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Definition of Ironic?

Ironic is a difficult word. I don't completely understand how to use it. A while ago Peter and I were trying to define it (this is what nerds do for fun on a Saturday night). Despite the fact that it is a word tossed about frequently in conversation, neither of us could come up with a great definition.

So we consulted and realized that this lack of understanding is way bigger than just Peter and I. It affects our whole society- perhaps even you! It turns out that ( at least according to ironic may be one of the most abused words in the English language. A lot of what people think is ironic, technically isn't. Like Alanis Morrissette's song that is replete with un-ironic statements.

I think I understand it in its simplest sense: It would be ironic if were to say "what a nice day" if it were raining cats and dogs outside. In that situation I would intend to convey the opposite of what I actually said. That incongruity between the literal and intended meaning being a basic definition of irony. I don't have a good grasp of the word when it comes to describing more complex scenarios.

But Peter related a story to me when he got home form work a few mornings ago and I thought, this is ironic. This has to be ironic. What do you think?

There was some disturbance in the ER (he didn't know exactly of what nature, disturbances of all kinds being commonplace in the ER) so security guards were roaming about. Peter's colleague, a petite, 20-something female, made an offhand comment to a few of the guards. She said something along the lines of "you guys are intimidating". She said it in a lighthearted way, in passing and thought nothing of it. Until later on that night when she walked passed the security guards in the hall speaking with her supervising physician. She overheard them say that they were upset by her remark. They had called their boss, they were now speaking to her supervisor. They were really taking this one all the way to the top.

Please tell me, is this not ironic on so many levels? It's like a parfait of irony. (Unless I really don't understand the term...)

You might have some of the same questions that ran through my mind at this point such as: "They're insulted at being called intimidating? Is that not their job?" or "Are these security guards 13 year old girls?"

Let's just give them the benefit of the doubt and pretend for a moment that she was being intentionally derogatory with her comment. Even then, to actually be offended by one rude remark from a young female would require extraordinarily delicate sensibilities for people who routinely deal with gun-wielding, curse-spitting, disease-ridden ER patrons.

On the other had, if they thought she was being genuine and were genuinely offended that she found them to be intimidating, well then, I think its time to find some people who have a better understanding of the job description, don't ya think?

This has to be some form of irony, am I right? Put that in a song, Alanis!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Google U

Do you suppose there will be a time when we will dispense with formal education in favor of simple Google searches?

Google searches are so much less expensive and much more to the point. And since we know that everything we read on the internet is likely to be true, I see this as a real possibility. I suppose the downside is that students would miss out on things like marching band.

Anyways, yesterday I took a Google U refresher course on childhood illnesses. John turned up with an odd rash and I took to Google to see if I could find a diagnosis. As I reviewed childhood diseases from chicken pox to yeast infections, I was relieved to find that he most likely has a case of the nearly harmless hand-foot-and-mouth disease (picture here). It is a common childhood virus that usually resolves on its own within a week or so.

I was pleased to find that he wasn't suffering from something much worse like nastiness-spewing- from-both-ends-itis or, the dreaded, not-long-for-this-world-virus syndrome. Now, after my research, I feel much more equipped to diagnose childhood diseases! Thanks, Google U!

Luckily, he's a happy, diseased, little fellow:

Monday, June 06, 2011

May Books

I can't believe that it's already June. Is it just me or does time seem to speed up as you get older?

June has brought with it some scorching weather. We have had a few triple digit days already. The weather reports I've been listening to sound like a description of a film noir flick: sultry, hot and steamy. One meteorologist recently commented that it won't cool down for the next few days. And I was thinking "this is June in Texas. It's not going to cool down for another 4 months." But I guess if by "cool down" you mean it will only be 97 degrees instead of 102, then I do hope it does "cool down" soon.

Anyways, in May I started 4 books but only finished one:

In My Father's House by Corrie Ten Boom

I liked this book it. It was an easy read. It is the memoir of Corrie Ten Boom's life prior to WWII. After the Nazi occupation of Holland she was involved in the Dutch resistance and eventually spent time in a concentration camp for her work hiding Jews. She wrote about her experience during WWII in The Hiding Place which is such an incredible book. In My Father's House was about her earlier life. She recounts some experiences that God used to prepare her for what she was later to experience during WWII. It was a pleasant but not spectacular read. But the Hiding Place is spectacular and you should read it!