Friday, November 11, 2011


My son is so growing up.

I have had it on my to-do list to update him on this blog for a while now.  I planned to talk about all the words he's finally saying, the books he's currently reading, and the toys he engages with now. 

And then he stole my nickel.

He saw me put a stray nickel that I found in my pocket.  He decided he wanted the nickel, and got it out of my jeans pocket for himself.  Then, he went into the hard-to-get to bookshelf in the back of his room, and found one of our spare change jars (the one grandpa Banter gave us, that keeps track of the money as you put it in the lid).  We rarely ever use it (we never have change long), so I was extremely surprised that he even knew it was there.  Once he put the nickel in, he immediately brought it to me so I could open the lid for him.  And now he's been spending the last ten minutes putting all the coins back in. 

I'm pretty much in shock and awe at this, frankly because he knows all these little things that amaze me.  That he has a concept of money, and where it belongs, is pretty shocking to me.  I loved having the day off work so that I could really focus on him today, and I really feel like I miss so much working all the time.  I asked him today if he's just a really big baby, or a really little kid.  I think he just answered my question with the later answer.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Activities for 18 month olds in Newark, Delaware

So lately, I've been wanting to get the little one into some more regularly schedule activities now that the year is started.  We had a blast during the summer going to the Brandywine Zoo, swimming pool, Milburn Orchard, Kilby Creamery, down to the beach, and playing at the park-but now mama's going back to work and needs a little more help in keeping activities going.

I started researching and little by little, found the following list of activities.  I think we're going to pick out about four of these to try.
Toddler Tales:  At the Newark Free Public Library.  Story time for 18-35 month olds.
Swim Lessons:  We are thinking of becoming Y-members, (Sept. there is no joiner fee!), and if we do we may put T. in the Perch class!  19 months-3 years. 
Swim Lessons 2:  A little farther away in Elkton, there are also swim lessons available here.
Itty Bitty Fall Sports:  At the Kirkwood soccer club.  An athletic activity for 18-35 months.
First State Gymnastics:  Just a couple miles from us (within biking distance) is this facility.  They offer classes, or just open gym time. 
Nature Babies:  Local program at a White Clay Creek State Park, looks promising.  Once  a month on Saturday mornings. 
We Kids Rock:  Music classes, mostly held in Wilmington but there is a Newark class.
Yoga:  This says they are starting baby classes this fall.  Crawlers-4 years.
Delaware Nature Society:  More classes for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 year olds.
Roller Skating: and Figure Skating:  Not sure when T. will be ready for this class, but it looks fun!
Gymboree: and The Little Gym:  Have all sorts of classes for pre-schoolers, located up in Wilmington.  I'm not sure about the prices though, these may be expensive.

I'll be sure to update which ones we try, and what we think of them.  Most are accepting registrations now and start SOON!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Newark, Delaware Fall Festivals and 5k runs (2011)

I have this idea that I might want to get interested in walking/running 5ks this year.  Maybe... we'll see.  I found a few around here, and some other festivals for the Newark area. 

Sept. 18:  Stroller through the Park (5k walk, and visit to the Please Touch Museum)
Oct 1:  Main Street Mile (not a full 5K, just a one mile race down Newark's main street)
Nov. 19:  Newark's Turkey Trot (10k and 5k races)

Dec. 2:  Reindeer Run (or romp, which is what we'll probably be doing.  This is on the night of Newark's Winterfest)

Other Festivals:
Sept. 17:  Day for Kids in Wilmington
Sept. 18:  Newark Community Day
Oct. 2: Coast Day
Oct. 30:  Halloween Parade and Main Street Trick or Treat
Nov. 5-7: Punkin Chunkin (quadratics in action, this festival is featured in both of my math textbook series)

Monday, August 29, 2011

18 months old

As Theo recently turned 18 months this month, I thought I would record 18 things about my little cutie. 
  1. According to his pediatrician, he is 34 inches tall (90%-ile), 33 pounds (>97%-ile), and has a 50 cm head circumference (90%-ile). 
  2. T has a mouth full of teeth!  He now has his lower canines, and the upper ones are in, as well as his first molars.  He has been extremely close to the "schedule" for all of his teeth.  Hopefully now he will get about a 6 month break until his second molars come in. 
  3. T loves his baby doll.  I realized recently that I should get him a doll to take care of, and he immediately took to her.  He puts her down for a nap, pushes her around on his little cart, hugs, kisses, and plays patty-cake with her.
  4. T gives lots of hugs, to people he knows, and kids he doesn't.  He's been giving them out left and right... mostly to his cousin Maci, but also to kids in the nursery at church, little girls at the creamery, anyone. 
  5. T dances!  It is way too cute.  See attached video...
6.  T loves to wear bracelets.  And watches.  He has cleaned out my jewelry boxes taking all the bandy bracelets that I have.

7.  T really loves copying us.  He tries to sweep the kitchen, walk the dog, and of course use our phones and computers.  Nowadays he's not content to just play on the phones, but actually wants us to call people so that he can babble at them.

8.  T continues to be in the "on/off" stage.  He loves climbing up on his toy box to turn the AC and lights on and off, open and close doors and the fridge, and buckling himself into his stroller and his car seat.

9.  T loves to go outside!  He has recently figured out how to open the door, and had a couple time-outs for going outside without us.  He still loves every chance he gets though.  He's very glad we have a dog that he gets to help walk, and have a playground in our complex so he can play easily everyday.

10.  T still loves bananas.  They may be his favorite food.  He is only a little picky now and then with vegetables, but if they are pureed he's still try anything. 
    11.  T. doesn't have a comfort object.  No binky, no special blanket or stuffed animal... I'm wondering if he will eventually pick something or not.
    12. T. still cries when we put him to sleep.  It's sad, but only lasts a couple minutes.  Last week I tried letting him listen to music, and it helped a little.  Johnny Cash "Hurt" worked one night.  And the last week we have been 7 for 7 for him not crying at nighttime!  Hopefully this keeps up.
    13.  T. is an excellent helper!  He has started carrying in groceries (little bags), picking the peppers, putting his books away at night, and tries to help daddy with his tools. 
    14.  T. is still a good little reader.  His nighttime routine is to bring us books in our bed that we read before putting him down.  Lately he has started "reading" back to us.  He also seems interested in "chapter books" as he likes to take our books out of the bookshelf and page through them.  Also, we have all decided that Leo Lionni books are a little strange.
    15.  T. really loves daddy's bike!  He loves spinning the wheels.  We bought a bike seat for him recently, and he was super excited to get to ride in it.  He picked out a trike at the bike strore already that he would really love to have, if his legs were a little longer.
    16.  T. also really likes plugging in and unplugging things-my phone, computer, etc.  It's a little annoying.
    17.  T. likes to steer.  Any wheel he can get his hands on!
    18.  T. has discovered the joys of "free" toys.  We have a huge pile of boxes for stacking, fort-building, and hiding in.  He also loves hiding under the sheets on the bed.


Our beautiful farmer's market has really inspired me to try new things with vegetables this year.  R.R. furnished the instructions for this tasty grilled succotash.

4 ears of corn, husked, brushed with oil
1 red bell pepper
3 zucchini (1 to 1 1/2 lbs), cut in half lengthwise, brushed with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, thawed and shelled
salt & pepper, olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup snipped chives, in 1/2-inch lengths

Gather the veggies.

1.   Grill the corn and bell pepper, turning, until lightly charred on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool slightly.  Grill seasoned zucchini, turning once, until softened, about 10 minutes. 

Grill the veggies.

2.  Remove and discard the skin, stem, and seeds from the bell pepper and cut the pepper into strips.  Slice the corn kernels from the cobs.  Cut the zucchini into 1/4-inch half-moons.  In a large bowl, combine the peppers, corn, zucchini, edamame, butter, and chives; season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm!

Mix them up!

We used the orange peppers that have been growing on our porch.  It's a lot more work to grill these little guys, but its worth it!  I used a little extra corn-feel free to add more of your favorites.

August was a fun month!

Theo got to revisit some of our favorite places this month, as we started looking toward another busy fall semester.  With the hurricane and earthquake added on, he had quite a few learning experiences this month!!  (DIRT Sundae!) (The tiger is back!)

The Pool! (sorry, no pics)

Kilby Cream (I love the glass milk jugs!) picking!)

And daddy's birthday!  (The last one where Theo has young parents!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Reading

So, I only got through about half of my summer reading list this year.  I got a little distracted, what with two of my favorite books coming out as movies ("Help" and Harry Potter-I felt the need to re-read both of them).  However, I did get through Sense & Sensibility (Brian thinks I am "meaner" while I am reading Jane Austen) and Ingrid Law's follow-up to "Savvy" the new book "Scumble".  I'm hopefully she keeps the series going, I think they are really unique, and great books for reluctant readers (it is a young adult book).  I also stumbled across James McBride's memoir "The Color of Water" while I was at home, and I'm still not sure how it wound up in my parent's house, but it was extremely interesting.  I'm about half way through Moll Flanders, and hope that I can squeeze in some time between taking care of Theo and grading papers to keep reading throughout the school year.

Theo is very excited by one of his new books,"Dear Zoo".  The board book version of this children's book has flaps that he can lift to find different zoo animals.  He LOVES it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

County Fairs.

We had a great time at the Huntington County 4-H Fair again this year.  It was HOT, and we got a little overheated a couple times, but it was a ton of fun.  Uncle Matthew had plenty of animals there to keep us busy the whole time.  This is the epitome of county fairs for us.  Theo got to enjoy the special foods this year, including milkshakes (at least one every day-and I never bought him one) and tenderloins!

After we got back, I decided I wanted to see what the fairs were like around here.  I went to the Delaware State Fair in years past, but it was already over, so I picked a few other local fairs to try out. 

The Salem County Fair was in New Jersey, and was similar to Huntington's in the fact that it was not focused around a big mid-way, as there were no rides to speak of.  There were some "pig races" and other entertainment, but most of the fair was traditional in being centered around the agricultural and homemaker traditions.  However, I didn't find a lot of 4-H'er exhibits, but there were lots of open class entries.

I noted how each species was different from what I'm used to in Indiana. In the rabbit barn, I noticed almost all the breeds were purely "fancy" breeds, those raised almost exclusively for pets. Being that Huntington has a huge meat show, it was very different in that way.  The poultry was similar, in there being lots of unique laying breeds, but few meat broilers. 
We then sat through the entire cattle show.  I did a really job judging the showmanship class (which is also judged on how well the animal is fit), and matched up with the judge very well.  There were then three classes of steers, shown not by breed, but by weight.  Eventually the judge picked the heavyweight steer as the champion, and then had a quick class of four heifers. 

We noticed a lot of differences in the sheep barn as well.  In Indiana, almost all the sheep are market sheep, but here there were all sorts of varieties raised for their wool!  They were really interesting to see.  This guy I think was a Jacob breed.

The goats were not so different, though there were a lot of Lamancha goats (the ones with tiny ears) that I haven't saw in a while, and less of the Boer goats.  There were not many swine entries to compare, but what were there ranged in weight from 150-300 pounds!  There was a lot of variety.
Theo also enjoyed the "miniature horses" that were at the fair, something he didn't see during the Huntington fair.

Next, we went west to the Queen Anne's County Fair in Maryland.  This one was a little more typically, in the food court and mid-way rides.  Some animals had already been released by the time we got there, but we still got a pretty good feel for the fair.  It was fairly similar to the NJ fair, but had a few differences.  There were probably a few more beef cattle, and meat sheep instead of wool sheep.  They seemed to have a lot more 4-H exhibits (like the sea shell collection below).  And they had a lot of horse and pony exhibits. 

 All in all, these fairs were both awesome places to take Theodore, and he enjoyed himself immensely.  They don't really compare to the fairs we're used to in the Midwest, but they did make me feel a little more at home, even out here on the East coast.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baby On Campus

Today we took Theodore in to be a lab rat.  The infant research lab at UD has ongoing projects where they are researching language development in children.  I've heard plenty about these kind of studies in my undergrad studies, where they'll track children's attention as they show or hear different things, so I figured we could spend a half hour participating.  Theodore of course loved it, because he got to play with toys, meet new people, and be the center of attention.  When he was done he got this cute certificate and awesome t-shirt!  Brian commented that this is the first of many free t-shirts he will get for doing things for a college.  I was interested in all the presentation posters they had around the lab, and could have stayed and read all day if Theo wasn't with me. 

Then dada met us for lunch at Chipotle.  They need to make baby burritos, because Theodore really enjoyed his bites of Brian's.

After we left, we stopped at the UD Creamery to pick up some pints to go!  We've been talking of trying it for months, and it was finally a convenient time to stop when they were open.

The whole trip made me really crave my undergrad days on campus.  The heat wave we are going through probably helped create the Arizona nostalgia.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kelli's Chicken

I'm in a rut in the kitchen for sure, so I'm looking for new recipes to vary up our diet a bit.  This one from Kelli's blog is as she says-easy and tasty.

My cost break-down wasn't quite as good as her's.  I don't know if it's the difference in prices between Mississippi and Delaware or just her superiority in grocery shopping.

Chicken:  $4.63
Tomatoes: $1.39
Stuffing:  $2.39
Cheese:  $1.41

Total:  $9.82 (about 6 adult servings)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Theodore's Reading List: Great Books for One Year Olds

Theodore is finally interested in reading books!  He has always shown an interest in books, eating them, flipping through them, ripping them, writing in them, kind of listening when mama reads them, etc.; but now he is finally focused enough to bring me a book, sit on my lap, and help me read a book cover to cover.  It is pretty adorable.

We finally even have it in the bedtime routine now, that I will go sit on my bed and ask Theodore to go pick out a book.  I'm always excited to see what he brings.  Apparently, these are his top picks, because they continue to be repeat selections. 
  1.  Kitten's first Full Moon by Kevin Henkes.  This seems to be the top pick, as it was the one Theodore immediately opened when I set him in the center of these books for this picture.  The black and white pictures, and subject matter must appeal to him. (milk and a kitten-two of his favorite things).
2.  Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.  Theo grabbed this book next.  He absolutely loves going down to the laundry room (he gets to holler in a long echoing hallway), and apparently likes to hear about Trixie's own tale of a laundry mat visit.  This book has black and white backgrounds, with the characters in color.

3.  Rhymes and Reasons by James C. Christensen.  This over-sized book is another favorite of Theodore's, and illustrates many common children's rhymes.  There are full sized pages, and half pages inside.  Mama and dada find this one interesting because it gives some historical background on each of the rhymes.  It was a great yard sale buy at $0.50. 

4.  If you Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.  This one may be my favorite more than Theo's.  I like the circular theme of these books, and never get tired of going through the "if... then" statements. 

5.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.  This classic from my own kindergarten days is also a hit with Theodore.  He loves to hear about the letters going up the tree, and the catastrophe that happens.

6.  Corduroy's Party by Don Freeman and Lisa McCue.  Grandma E. has been giving Theodore a series of Corduroy books throughout the year, and these board book editions capture Theodore's attention.  He also has an actual bear who gets to read along sometimes too.

7.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?   The classic children's book authors/illustrators Bill Jr Martin and Eric Carle combine in this board book, that is enhanced by sliding flaps on each page previewing the next animal that will be "seen".  Very engaging, this was probably one of Theodore's first favorites.

8.  Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!  Another one by Mo Willems, this is part of mama's favorite series about "Just Saying No" to the tiresome bird.  Perhaps the cameo by Knuffle Bunny is what makes this particular book Theo's favorite.
Honorable Mention to this rainbow book.  I thought we were done, but Theodore wanted to add this book as well.  It is a nice story about the colors of the rainbow, and each turn of the page adds another color to the ribbony feature.

Baby Trip

Once we completed teacher day 72 post-student (ok, maybe only 6 days past the student's last days-still way too many), we loaded up the car and headed home to meet some babies (and a lot of canines as well).  Theodore did a great job with pretty much all of them.  Here are some shots.
First Cousin M:  He loved her!  He did a great job loving on her, giving her her binky, and holding her hand.
 My turn!


Us meeting Ady June 2011.

Kari meeting Theodore Feb. 2010.

Us meeting Liam June 2011.

Ashley meeting Theodore, June 2011.

We also had a blast at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, as well as the Huntington splash park!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cape May/Wildwoods

We wanted to head for the beach a few days ago while my little sister was here, and instead of going the usual route to Rehoboth, we wanted a change of scenery.  So we headed across the bridge to New Jersey for a nice day in the sun.

We picked Wildwoods, because they are one of the free beaches in Jersey.  Apparently you have to buy "beach badges" to go to a lot of the other ones.  We had a quick lunch at Marvis Diner before heading on to find the board walk.  The sand was hotttt, causing us to immediately run in and find the waves.  Theodore loved it, and we spent a lot of time keeping him from eating the fine grained particles.

After enough time for Brian to get thoroughly pink (he spent so much time putting sun screen on T he apparently forgot to do himself), we headed on over to see the quaint little town of Cape May.  The town is fairly equivalent to Lewes in Delaware (a ferry connects the two), and is full of bed & breakfasts, beautiful homes, and lots of beautiful blooming hydrangeas in a variety of colors.  We stopped by the lighthouse here.

Next, we stopped at the Cape May Winery and did a quick tasting while Erin and Theo napped in the car.  I enjoyed their Isaac Smith apple wine.  The vineyards and facilities were quite beautiful, and a nice end cap to the day.

On the drive back, we stopped at an ice cream stop that had truly unique flavors and mixes of ice cream.  Erin enjoyed her black raspberry, while my monster cookie was slightly outdone by Brian's scoops of funfetti cake-both were delicious.  It was definitely worth the stop, but I can't remember the name of the place.  I guess we will just have to go back... :)