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Aside 19 Feb

Ben continues to talk up a storm. He’s got two main versions of words–one with some mashup of B sounds — (admittedly, it usually sounds like he’s saying “boobie”) which he uses for a lot of things. Belly is bubby, bagel is buhbah (although if you practice, he’ll get it to baybel). Rather inexplicably, things that start with B get M sounds–his binky (I know, I know) is meemee, bananas are also meemees. Other words, he’s got down pretty clearly. Cracker is cackuh–better than Eli’s version which was “daduh” and you never knew if he was talking about food or Andy. Slide is “shide”, bath is VERY CLEARLY “bath”.  Don’t dare say bath around him unless you are putting him in. The meltdown isn’t worth it.  Sometimes I’ll just give him a bath anyway because I slipped and said it around him.

I tried to show Ananda how he sat for a reading of Goodnight Moon — he made it about 2/3rds of the way through it, then shut the book. She started laughing and tried to keep reading so he walked back to her, took it out of her hands, then put it back on the bookshelf. Okay, Ben, we get the hint.  Since then he hasn’t sat still for a whole reading. I “read” him a few books tonight while he climbed on me, smacked the book, and played with some toys next to me. Ah well, to each his own.

He is sleeping well lately, only waking up once a night because he’s lost his binky and needs recorking. Recently, he was doing that a lot and he must have sensed that we were planning to de-binky him because he got really quiet all of the sudden. Now we have put it back on the back burner. Ben-1, Parents-0. At least it’s only for sleep. I don’t even think he gets it for nap at BP. He’s got quite the little bedtime routine–you say to him, “Ready for night night?” and he will rather agreeably nod. We will brush his teeth and then he’ll start making his rounds of telling everyone good night “NIGHT NIGHT!” with a big hug and kiss. He exits the room with a very drawn out game of “I’m going to blow you a kiss and you pretend it knocks you down” that he plays with both Andy and Eli, but mostly Eli.

He’s all over such an agreeable child. He’s a little slap happy lately and he’s definitely got some patience to learn but he’s so much fun to have around. It’s hilarious to watch him harrass Eli–most of the time he’s just trying to get him to play or just be near him. Sometimes Eli is fine with it and will play along. Lately, Eli is a little more agreeable to letting Ben “attack” him–meaning Ben basically tries to tackle and belly flop on him.

Crossfit is going well. Most of the time I’ve managed to go four times a week and although that can be challenging, I’m really enjoying it. I did manage to strain my neck two weeks in. I had to skip a Thursday/Saturday workout but was back in the game on Monday. So it’s been a little over a month now I’ve been doing it? I really feel like it’s such a good fit for me-if I’m going to work out, I prefer to sort of feel like I’m dying during it and I really prefer to be sore afterwards–after all, what’s the point if you can’t feel it at all? Also, if I’m going to work out hard enough to have that “Ugh, I’m going to die” thing going on, it’s even better if the workouts are SHORT. They are! My longest work out so far has only been 25 minutes. Most of them are in the 8-15 minute range but oh, they are brutal.

I was supposed to go yesterday but couldn’t because of Andy’s work schedule so I decided to run intervals on the treadmills during naps. I did 4 miles in 35 minutes. That’s an 8:45 min/mile pace! I did intervals of 6.3 mph with 7.6 mph sprints every three minutes. Once I hit the 30 minute mark, I just ran it out and sprinted until I hit four miles. Although I definitely felt achy last night, overall I felt pretty good. It’s not a pace I can maintain at ALL at this point and I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the treadmill but still, yay! I’ve got that half at the end of March and I’m hoping to beat my 2:18 time.  I think I’d be shooting for 2:10 but that might be too lofty, particularly since I’m mostly crossfitting and only doing long runs on Sundays with no other running in there.

On Monday, Andy and I are starting this eating program (diet? It’s not really to lose weight) called Whole30. It’s basically 30 days of no grains, legumes, processed food, dairy, sugar, soy, (happiness?), alcohol….uh, I think that’s it. Supposedly it is good as a “nutritional reset” and breaks a lot of bad cycles your body gets into from eating crap for a long time. I think we tend to eat fairly healthy most of the time but I’m sure there’s a lot of tweaking we could do.

I’ve been having energy problems for a while now. I exercise regularly, fairly healthy diet, but I just feel TIRED a lot of the time. Not sleepy, just fatigued, like I just ran a race. I started sleeping more and that helped some but not a lot. Then back in December we cut out alcohol altogether and although that improved my sleep some, no big change in anything with that. The only thing left is to look at my diet and wonder if there’s not something in there that might help if I take it out. So that’s why I’m doing the whole30. I’d like to have even energy throughout the day and not feel sluggish all the time. If we drop a few pounds along the way, hey, that’s just a nice bonus. So the last two weeks has been mostly prepping for it. No, we’re not ridding the house of everything that we can’t eat because I realize we are likely to eat it again in the future. This way of eating will just allow me the ability to see if my energy does improve and if it does, I can add things back in one at a time and find out what the offender is.

We also aren’t making the kids do it although just from being in the house, they’re going to get subjected to a lot of it. They already have pretty good diets in general so I don’t really feel the need to mess with them.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to it in that “Oh man, this is probably going to be really hard and I’m really going to hate it at times but hopefully it will be worth it” sort of way. In any case, it can’t HURT, so why not?

And now, it’s 9:30 PM. Time to hit the sack and get some shuteye. Good night!


Birthdays, holidays, big boys, oh my!

15 Nov

Well, Eli is officially five years old.  Although I can believe it, I still can’t really wrap my head around it. We had originally scheduled his party for Sunday, 10/27 but the whole preceding week turned out to be a Plague Upon My House Affecting Only Males (again, they are the weaker sex! Another round of crud they all caught but I didn’t!) and then although they had rallied the day before, Eli started off the day of his party with a little throwing up and that never lends itself to a party atmosphere.  The celebrations were rescheduled for two weeks later, this past Sunday, November 10th.  If you think about it, it really was a major score for Eli, who by that time had totally forgotten about his birthday and all of the sudden it was Presents! Again! Thankfully, I had done a lot of party prep the days leading up but I had not done anything that couldn’t be put on hold for two weeks (pumpkin scones made but not baked-in freezer.  Decorations hung-our house just looked festive for two weeks. Wasabi deviled eggs-well, we ate those for two days solid and got a little sick of them and the rest went in compost).

So the party went well, the house was overrun by kids being maniac kids and Eli had a fantastic time which was the point of the whole thing. He got lots of cool gifts, mostly consisting of Legos, which is funny because I didn’t tell anyone he had recently developed an all abiding love for all things Lego. The two kids (moms) from Small Faces who also have 5 year old boys got them for him because their kids are All Legos All the Time. Apparently there’s some switch that gets flipped at 5 because a month ago? Eli thought legos were okay but nothing to write home about and then I bought him an Iron Man Lego kit for his birthday and it was ON. One afternoon I was playing with Ben and realized Eli’d been quiet for over an hour and when I went downstairs he was on step 24 of a 43 step instruction guide about how to put Iron Man’s water boat together.  It was REALLY IMPRESSIVE.  I thought Andy had helped him but he hadn’t.  Later that evening when Andy got home and found Eli working on it, he thought I had helped him.  Since his party, he has spent HOURS working at the dining table assembling his Lego kits, usually all by himself.  He will ask for a little help locating a part here and there but that’s about it.  The attention to detail and patience he displays is really amazing.

Ben is just exploding all over the place, in the best ways.  His speech has gone through the roof.  He talks almost constantly–even though it’s mostly babble, he’s getting better at getting his point across.  He clearly understands probably about 75% of what we say–he can get things for you, he knows where his shoes/jacket belong, he can help with clean up, etc. It’s awesome because we can really communicate with him now on some level but at the same time, little man gets frustrated when we have no idea what he wants.  He uses the sign for “more” and says “eat” a lot but then he sometimes doesn’t seem to be that hungry–he’s communicating “want” in some way but we’re not sure what he needs.  Granted, it usually is that he wants to eat–this kid eats almost NONSTOP.  I was complaining to Andy the other day that it feels like all I do these days is feed Ben and clean the kitchen.  The amount he can put away is staggering–two mornings ago he had a waffle, two eggs, five cherry tomatoes, a full sippy of milk, and a piece of toast for breakfast.  Then he ate another sizable snack (banana and some chex) before lunch.  For lunch he had a black bean and cheese quesadilla with more tomatoes and half an apple.  It’s ridiculous.  Andy and I figured it out and Ben is the same size at 15 months that Eli was AT TWO.

Can we just take a minute to absorb this?  Eli, who was a giant child, IS SMALLER THAN BEN AT THIS AGE.  BEN IS BIGGER.

I am so afraid for my grocery budget.

He’s getting more into being read to–he will now sit for about half a book before he tries to eat it or fling it across the room.  He brings books to us now to read and he is getting better at recognizing things in his 100 Words book.  He will point out dogs on the street– “Doggy! Doggy!” and make the most adorable barking sounds and also will make meow sounds for cats although his meow is more like “Mooooooowwwww” It’s pretty funny stuff.  He continues to love nothing more than being flipped, thrown, or otherwise hurled into the air–either by himself or someone else, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to start him in some circus classes as soon as he’s old enough.  He flies through the air with the greatest of ease! And hopefully learns to do it safely so he doesn’t give his poor mama a heart attack.  Or perhaps he will want to learn rock climbing?  The cool thing about Seattle is that he has tons of options!

Eli is still taking soccer now but he has expressed some interest in karate (check out the video, I have been cracking up ever since).  I told him I would see if I could find a drop in for him to do to see if he likes it since he can only do one or the other–between schools, swim class, and another class, that’s all the running around I care to do.  In water news–he lets us pour water over his head now in the tub!  So proud of that kid!

Here are some videos and also, new pictures up!

Walking out and about, Ben in his new winter jacket:

Lunchtime conversation

And my personal favorite, karate master.  Stick with it until about 1:13 and then I just have trouble not laughing.  He’s so great.


Daddy speaks…

5 Jul

It’s been the subject of some – “conflict” is too strong a word… call it “conversation” – that I haven’t been keeping up anything close to my end of the bargain on blog posts. Not that there was any established bargain regarding the blog to begin with, I think the contract is being re-negotiated. Our first goal is that my posts are frequent enough that I don’t have to, or feel I have to, begin them with something apologetic-sounding on the subject of not posting more often.
Moving on…
Erin’s folks have been staying with us for most of the last week and fly out again this morning. We have really enjoyed their company, sharing Eli with them, and yes, the relief that their babysitting services bring. We took advantage of those services to celebrate Erin’s birthday a day late with a night out Friday: late afternoon massages, a dinner cruise on Elliott Bay, and a night in a swanky old downtown hotel. It was a lot of fun. The hotel, emphasis on the “old” more than the “swanky,” was the low point and even that was nice. Most of the 2 o’clock hour of the early morning was spent lying awake in bed listening through our open 8th floor window to some guy shouting and cursing from the street for somebody named Mike (probably in the adjacent building) to “answer the ___ing phone” or “open the ___ing door.” Apparently Mike never responded so the shouting continued along with interesting and violent suggestions on what Mike should do and where he should go and very unlikely conjectures regarding his ancestry. Eventually hotel personnel ran him off but I shouldn’t like to be Mike if or when these two meet up again.
Will has been back down South since mid-late June and I miss him terribly. I already see woefully and increasingly little of the man when he’s here. Now he’s back in Louisiana mowing lawns and playing tennis in dangerously hot weather. Times like these I’m thankful for the tendencies of my worry-wart mother and trust that she’s keeping him from heat stroke, hosing him down frequently or whatever it takes. They should be RV’ing it back up here middle of next month so that will be another fun visit with Eli’s other G.P.’s
If it weren’t for this blog and the flickr page and videos that Erin keeps up so well I doubt the folks would recognize Eli on their next visit. We’ve gone on endlessly on how huge he is. It seems like every few days he’s hitting a new developmental milestone. Yesterday he began pushing himself up to sitting. Last night was just like the week when he got really good at rolling over, using that as his means of mobility rather than crawling. He kept himself up an extra thirty minutes just by sitting up in his crib just like he did with the rolling when he first learned that. The childproofing hardware has been ordered!
As for myself, work continues to move along steadily. No major changes at City Light yet, but I personally am on a more predictable schedule, so that’s good. The downside is that being on the regular rotation I’m having to work a bit more of the night shifts, what’s really my fair share.
At the beginning of June, after investing a well over a year’s worth of time and expenses I split with the band I was playing with. Following a weekend in the studio and an immediately subsequent show, both of which could have gone better, I just got tired and frustrated: no room to express myself, little respect for me or regard for my input, and no apparent hope for change. Eh, live and learn: in the future I’ll either do my own thing or be muuuuuch more selective about what music gigs I take.

Food and other things

3 Feb

I meant to post this recipe a while ago for my mom as we made it while they were visiting and it was quite the hit. It’s pretty darn easy to make and unbelievably good for the lack of work.

Eli is doing great, we have some video to post but the battery on the video camera is kaput and we can’t find the power cord for it. Hopefully I can hunt it down in the next day or two and get that up. The overnight sleep has mostly resolved itself after a few days of the binky obsession although naps are pretty up in the air right now. I’ve let go of strict nap enforcement in favor of just putting him down when he looks tired and letting him sleep however long (or not) he wants. I still do enforce a longer nap in the afternoon (at least 1.5 hours) but that has more to do with wanting a pleasant baby in the evenings more than anything else.

I go back to work in a week and a half. I’m looking forward to it but at the same time I’m a little sad about it. Time passes so quickly. We’re going to go ahead and buy a crib next week so we can take the pack n’ play to Sharron’s so he’ll have some consistency there. Trying not to think too much about not seeing my boy very much four days a week right now. Wah.

Anyway, the recipe:
Black Bean, Yellow Pepper, and Cumin Chili

* 6 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 12-ounce onion, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
* 1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
* 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
* 4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies
* 3 15-ounce cans black beans, well drained
* 2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
* 2 cups vegetable broth

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and cumin seeds; sauté until onion is soft and golden, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add chipotle chilies and stir 30 seconds. Add black beans, diced tomatoes with juices, and vegetable broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer 2 cups chili to processor. Blend to coarse paste; return to pot. Simmer chili to thicken, if desired. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper.

Wild Seaweed Salad

4 Jan

Ah, thank you thank you thank you, he’s finally napping in his own bed. Hopefully he’ll stay down for a while because it’s 2:38 and he hasn’t slept longer than 20 minutes all day and he’s in quite a mood.

I thought I could use this blog to also document some food stuffs Andy and I have been trying out and make my own little recipe collection of recipes I find around the web. It works well to put it on here because since each entry

JINX! HE’S AWAKE! Oh, wait….maybe not. He’s swinging his head around in his bed but his eyes are still closed. Binky is out, repeat BINKY IS OUT. Still asleep. Hmmm.

Oh well, I’ll try to get this posted. Since I can organize these under categories, I can bring up all the recipes we’ve tried and liked under the Food category. Nice stuff. Anyway, here’s one we had last night which turned out really well. I found it at 101 Cookbooks.

(Binky back in after brief crying episode. He’s back asleep. Ahh, the excitement of my day.)

Wild Seaweed Salad Recipe

1 cup of loosely packed (wild) nori seaweed
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
2 tablespoons honey
scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cups pecans, toasted
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves/stems, chopped
6 cups cooked wild rice

Preheat your oven to 300F degrees. Toast the nori for 7-10 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool for a few minutes, crumble and set aside.

Drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy. Leave the tofu like this, or cut into strips, or cubes (whatever you like). Set aside.

In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running (or by hand), drizzle in the oils. Set aside.

In a large bowl, just before serving toss the shallots, pecans, cilantro, crumbled seaweed, and wild rice with a generous amount of the dressing. Mix well and add the cooked tofu. Toss (gently) again, taste, add more dressing (and a bit of salt) if needed, and serve family-style.

I cut the recipe down to work for three people (well, two people and Will) and it was pretty tasty. If anybody tries this and are seaweed newbies like us, careful what seaweed you put in your trash. It will need to go out that night or your whole kitchen will smell like a sushi restaurant in the morning. I also used chopped pecans because that’s what I had but I think it would have worked a lot better with pecan halves. It was good, filling and pretty cheap!