Thursday, April 29, 2010

Code Monkey Likes You

Marty made a slide show to one of his and Oliver's favorite songs, co-starring the sweet Annabelle. The song is Code Monkey, by Jonathan Coulton. Love the lyrics, which Marty (and I helped a little) illustrated perfectly. So adorable! Click HERE for some smiles!

Monday, April 26, 2010


This blog has been interrupted by a virus. I thought it was allergies at first, then it got ugly, and then Oliver caught it too. So, we have a cold. My creative juices are sapped, and aside from some extra Sesame Street viewing, our lives are very boring at the moment, so I have nothing to say. Here's a pretty picture, taken by Marty, to tide you over. Try not to focus on the snot and/or drool!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oliver's 2 Year Stats

For the last in our birthday-themed posts, I present to you the report on our 2 year wellness visit with the pediatrician last Friday!

Weight: 27 lbs (35%)
Height: 34.5" (50%)...though he was very squirmy, she did one at 35" and one at 34.25, so we all said 34.5.
He grew over 3" since his 18 month, but only gained 1 pound! Typical for his age, she said.
Head: huge (87%) I never remember the number.

She said to try to get rid of the pacifier except for in the crib. She advised that we make a new rule that binks stay in the crib, and that he'd probably cry the first day but get over it quickly. She said especially not to use it in the car because they do a lot of observing and babbling then, and we should encourage that. She thinks the bink may have affected his speech a bit, or it could affect it more if we keep using it. He has a ton of words, but he doesn't use them a lot, and I think his enunciation could be better, even for his age. She didn't hear any problems with his enunciation, but he didn't talk a lot during the appointment.

On his becoming more and more picky about food lately: typical toddler, not to worry. But he drinks a ton of milk (probably over 24 oz/day), so she wants us to try to give him less, and now that he's 2, we can change to skim or 1%--especially because he drinks so much. I'm wary of this based on what I've read (good fat for good brain development), but he does drink a ton, so maybe 1% would be fine. I'm not giving him skim though. She said he gets good fats elsewhere. Yeah, if he ate!

No shots, but he did have to have another finger prick to test for lead and iron. They did that at 12 months also. This one was much worse. He is so strong for his age, the nurse even commented on how strong he was fighting, and he was doing the alligator death roll, and screaming like I've never heard before. I was crying and freaking out too, but trying not to let it show. It felt like it took 5 minutes, with Marty holding his legs and me holding his arms and trying to keep his elbow straight. I thought I'd break his arm by accident! It was horribly awful. You better believe he had his bink in the car after that!

A few days later . . .

He (or maybe just I) was traumatized by the finger prick on Friday so we started Operation Bink Removal on Saturday. When he woke up that morning and wanted to bring the bink downstairs, I just told him. "From now on, binks have to stay in the bed." He protested a little, but was fine. Throughout the day, he'd ask "Bink?" and I'd just shake my head, say no, "Binks stay in the bed now." The only time he really threw a fit was when we were in Lowe's looking at flooring and he was bored with us. Sunday he did great, at one point in the evening, he looked at me and said, "Bink? No." So he got it. This morning when I picked him up out of the crib, he first bent over and placed the bink down on his mattress. I'm so proud of him!! I really thought it would be a battle. Sometimes they surprise you. I was scared to give up the bottle last year, and he did that far easier than we anticipated. I think we were more addicted to the bink than he was!!

The only problem now? He babbled/talked through a show we were trying to watch last night! lol It's amazing what a difference it makes, but it really seems that he is talking more already. Hooray Oliver!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strawberry Cake

I wasn't planning on making a pink cake for my son's 2nd birthday, but when thinking about all the flavors he likes, strawberry was on the top of the list. I swear, he exists on berries and cheese these days! Nevermind that he didn't take a bite, it was delicious for the rest of us, so I thought I'd share the recipe. I did a homemade cream cheese frosting, figuring pink frosting was a bit much for a little boy. It was a great combination, but I do think the Strawberry Buttercream that is included with the cake recipe would be even better. The recipe is one I'd saved from an old issue of Southern Living.

Triple-Decker Strawberry Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry jello
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
Garnish: whole strawberries

Beat cake mix and next 7 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Scrape down sides, and beat at medium speed 2 more minutes, stopping to scrape down sides if needed. Do not over beat, but ensure strawberries are well blended in the batter.
Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Frost with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting (below).

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
2 (16 oz) packages powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries

Beat butter at medium speed with mixer 20 seconds or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and chopped strawberries, beating at a low speed until creamy. (Add more sugar of frstong is too thin, or add strawberries if too thick).

Here's a photo I found online that looks like the frosting shown in the recipe. I wish mine were this pretty!

Note: I only had 2 cake pans, so I did a two layer cake. It took about 35 minutes for those to bake, since there was more batter in each pan. As a result, the outside got a little more brown that I would have liked in order to get the inside cooked. Next time, I think I'd try and do 3 layers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oliver's Birthday

Since we are so far away from family and friends, we planned a low-key birthday for Oliver. Thank goodness we didn't plan something huge--he was so excited about his presents and cake and everything I think he might have burst had it been anything bigger!! As always, the pictures tell the story . . .

He went crazy over the balloon. He's never had one before, but always points at them in the store. He and Dad spent a long time just throwing his new balls at the balloon. I swear, he would have been happy with just that for his present, he didn't even want to open the rest!

More fun with the balloon!

Finally, on to the rest of the presents.

Dad helping

Enjoying the new computer we got him in hopes that he'll leave ours alone now!

Surrounded by his loot!

"Yo, whassup?"

Anabelle and her parents came over later for cake and ice cream. Maybe his second favorite part of the day, next to the balloon.
Oliver goes in for the kiss . . .

Denied! Ends in an awkward hug instead.

Birthday Cake!

Ooooooh, fire!

Mommy made the cake. I don't recommend the canned decorating icing. I had no control over the tip. Otherwise, this would look more like a baseball.

Yes, it's pink. It's not girly, it's strawberry. He love strawberries. However, he did not eat any cake. Not even a bite. Whose kid is this?

It was a good day. Oliver says, "Thank you for my presents!"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Oliver!

How is it possible that I have a two year old? Wasn't it just the day before yesterday that he looked like this?

And yesterday that he looked like this?

My baby has become a little boy, growing up too fast already.

Who are you at two years old?

Well, as you can see, you are playful! Whether it's with a stick and a ball, chasing bubbles, laughing in the rain, or running around the playground, you know how to enjoy the simple things in life, an example for us all.

You are smart!  Currently a bit obsessed with the alphabet, you can recite it in its entirety , and almost sing the whole song. Everywhere you go,  you point out letters to us. You can recognize your own name in writing, and like to ask me to write it for you a lot. You can also count to 13--you've even figured out seven! Your vocabulary has stretched beyond what I can count. You repeat and remember the name of anything you ask me. Though I am still waiting for the 2 word sentence that I know will come any day now. I don't think "all done," "sit down," and "bye-bye" count, do they?

You are musical! We sing and dance every day, and you are starting to learn the tunes and words to certain songs. If music comes on, you'll start bopping away. And out of nowhere, sometimes you'll just start singing "la la la, bom bom bom."

You are observant! You study everything, in great detail. A few weeks ago, on our way to our weekly My Gym class, I turned a different way to go and get gas first because I had extra time. This was miles from our apartment, and after many other turns. But you noticed. You starting whining, thinking we weren't going to My Gym. How can you know that at age 2, when I still need a GPS to get around here!? You also have a great memory. Last week, we visited the local farm that has a creamery, a place we haven't been since November. You asked for the goats, ("bleat, bleat?") pointing to where they are usually kept, though they weren't there. How could you remember that after the long winter, at a place we've only been a handful of times, at your age?

You are loving! Even though you're not technically my baby anymore, you still love to sit and cuddle with Mommy at various intervals throughout the day. You also like giving kisses and hugs to our family and friends, and even blow kisses to all the ladies in the grocery store who swoon over you. Sometimes you'll come up to Dad and I and push us together so that we'll hug, then ask to be picked up so that you are in the middle of our hugs. Then you'll kiss one than the other, and then push our heads together so we'll kiss too. Then you smile and clap your hands. Now that's a family!

You are so many other things, I could sit and write about them all day. However, right now, you are awake! So that will have to wait, because one thing you are not is patient, especially with me getting you out of the crib!

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy! You are amazing, and we are blessed to have you in our lives. Most of all, always remember, you are loved!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My best birthday present ever

For almost two years now, I've been a little sad about something silly. As you can tell, Oliver is probably the most photographed child in the world. However, we didn't have any photographs of me holding him in the hospital. You know the shot: mom, looking haggard, gazing lovingly at this creature she's known intimately for nine months, finally seeing his face. While we had lots of photos of Oliver in the hospital, held by various family members or alone all swaddled in blankets, there were none of me holding him. It made me sad that I didn't have that iconic shot to share, even though it will always be in my memory. I'm sure I was partly to blame. I know I probably kept telling people not to take my picture because I looked tired and puffy and had no make-up on or hair done. Still, couldn't I have this one shot? It was one of those little regrets that stays in the back of your mind, coming up only when you see other moms holding their newly born babies.

Then, last night, my almost 2 year old gave me the (2nd) best birthday present ever. While I was cooking dinner, Oliver and Marty were playing around on the computer, and Marty decided to pull up a slide show of random photos to play while we ate dinner along with the classical music we often enjoy while we eat. Oliver has recently figured out the mouse/cursor relationship, and was clicking on various things. Somehow, out of nowhere, he pulled up a file folder full of photos from the day he was born. This file folder was hiding in some obscure place on our computer, not in our usual Photo area. So as we're eating dinner, I'm looking at them and I say to Marty, "I don't remember these pictures." Then all of a sudden, there it was: a photo of me holding Oliver, gazing lovingly. Yes, I look puffy and haggard, but to me it's the best photo ever taken. The most perfect gift my son could give me, second only to his birth, a process which began 2 years ago today, and ended 2 days later on the day this photo was taken:

April 5, 2008