Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gardening Itch {or...How I am singlehandedly responsible for us getting a contract on our house}

Apparently gardening is my blood, because when we had a warm day at the end of January, I just couldn't stand it any longer. I had to get my hands dirty. I had to get ready to grow something. So I started making a flowerbed beside the new deck that Dad, Charles, Mom, Ginger and Brent built for us. When Brent got home that afternoon, while I was still working, he asked what I was doing...and I looked up, grinning, and told him, "I am ensuring that our house sells quickly." Meaning that I am settling in more, assuming that we will be here for a while, and that, more than anything, means that it will be likely for our house to sell.

The weather started getting yucky and cold, so I wasn't able to finish the flower bed...or even work on it for several weeks. But last week, we received, and accepted an offer on our house. Woohoo! And the next day, I went out and finished the rock. Now I just have to fill it with good soil and plant something...that, hopefully, the deer won't eat. But, I definitely insist that I am singlehandedly responsible for our house being under contract ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday's Child

Samantha has really been doing a lot of mental growing lately. She has been working hard on her letter sounds and will, many times per day, say a word a few times in a row and then tell me what letter the word starts with. The last week or so, she has been working a lot on the letter "f." The problem is that there are words like phone in her vocabulary. So we introduced the concept of "ph" to her. And then she started thinking that words like fox and flower start with "ph" Ugh. English is just very difficult and confusing. And you better believe I tell her that when she says the wrong letter or letter combination simply because it sounds just like another. And I continue to tell her that she is doing a great job of listening to the sounds in words and figuring out letters.

She has also started walking into a room and telling the person there, "Mommy (or the name of whomever she is talking to) we need to talk." You can't help but smile when she does this. It is really very cute! So then we say "OK. What do we need to talk about?" and she will come up with all kinds of different things. This past weekend, she did this to Emma. And her answer to the question was "Flowers." Emma asked "What about flowers?" And Samantha started asking about how do flowers grow. Wow! That surprised me...that she really has the concept of flowers growing, down enough to ask questions about it. Before too much longer, she will probably be teaching me all kinds of things...well beyond the things like patience and laughter and joy that she already teaches me on a daily basis.

She has been working on a memory verse every week and so far knows (in the order she has learned them) John 3:16, 1 John 4:19, Isaiah 42:6, Deuteronomy 6:5, 1 Cor 13:6 and part of Prov 17:17. We start on a new verse each Monday, and the next Sunday, she tells her Bible class teacher what her verse is. She has also started praying before each meal. She has always reminded us to pray if we didn't think about it, but she always wanted me or Brent to pray while she bowed her head and then said amen. Now she actually wants to say the prayer each time. I think that she waited until she had something memorized to be comfortable saying it herself, because her prayer, every single time, is "Dear God, Thank you for this day. Thank you for all the food you give us. And thank you for Jesus. Amen." Then she gets a huge smile on her face...she is so proud of herself!

Samantha is also turning into quite the monkey herself since Jacob has been climbing so much. I saw her in my room the other day like this:
And yes, I actually told her that she is not allowed to climb up there, but since you're there, wait a minute and let me take a picture...then never climb in the window again. Of course, she has done it numerous times since then.

She also loves to get fancy every day. On this particular day, she put on every necklace and bracelet that she owns.

Then proceeded to play with her trains while she was still all fancied up. Yes, I am smiling at this adorable sight :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday's Child - With a Spoon

Samantha has been asking to watch "movies wif me and Jacob" lately, meaning she wants to see the videos we have taken. We recently watched the one of her chocolate pudding incident, and I remembered, as I saw the spoon on her high chair tray, that she was using a spoon, not always wonderfully, but definitely on her own, at 15 months. And I also realized that Jacob has NEVER used a spoon at all...and he is 14 months.

Of course, he doesn't insist that I allow him to use the spoon as Samantha did. He does not seem to have the independent streak that she did (and still does.) I'm not sure if that is good, bad, or just different, but no matter what the answer, it is still different.

So anyway...I decided that I should start giving Jacob a spoon and an opportunity to start trying to use it. Well, since we had broccoli/potato/cheese soup last night (which he LOVED, by the way), I decided that it would be a good night for him to try on his own. I handed him a spoon and a small bowl. Then I left his larger bowl and a spoon for on the table so that I could also feed him. I had to get up from the table for a few minutes at one point, and when I turned back, Samantha had given him his ENTIRE BIG bowl of soup from the table and this is what I found.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sibling Love

Samantha patting Jacob on the back and asking him if he is ok after he was fussing. He stopped fussing and smiled at her. I'm so glad that my kids love each other so much :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jacob - 14 months

Jacob is 14 months old today. He is growing and changing so much, that there are days I look at him and think...he's turning into such a big boy...he's not a baby any more. Of course he will ALWAYS be MY baby :)

Jacob has 11 teeth now and his 4th 1st year molar looks like it will come in any day. Of course, I've been saying that for at least 2 weeks, so we'll see. He weighs 26 lbs and wears size 4 diapers. He wears 18 and 24 month shirts, 24 month one piece outfits and has just begun wearing 18 month pants. His PJ's are 2T and 3T...the same sizes that Samantha is wearing!!!

He still takes 2 naps of 1 to 1.5 hours each and he generally sleeps from 7:30pm-7:30am, with one waking sometime between 4 and 6am during which he nurses, then goes back to sleep. He eats almost all regular food, the exceptions being some of the baby and toddler snacks such as yogurt melts and banana cookies. He eats EVERYTHING and loves it all, but some of the foods he gets very excited about are broccoli, peas and waffles. He has not started using a spoon on his own yet, he hasn't asked to do so, so I haven't really thought about it, but I think that I will start having him try that fairly soon.

We have been working on partially weaning, and now he is down to only nursing twice a day...before bed and early in the morning. Although, if he wakes up during the night, he usually nurses then, too, but he is not nursing in the daytime hours.

He doesn't talk a lot but he does say: up, Mama, Dada, puppy...and possibly dog, although I'm not sure about that one. Even with just making sounds, he is much less vocal than Samantha was at his age. But when he does have something to say, he gives it all he's got and everyone around hears it. He is still a very smiley baby, but doesn't laugh a lot. When he does laugh, it is usually for Daddy, occasionally for me, and it is the most precious sound! And Brent can REALLY get him going with a fit of giggles. Samantha is good at getting him to laugh in the car and they are so sweet to listen too...they just make me smile and smile.

He signs milk, more, eat, all done and book. He waves bye-bye, blows kisses and gives kisses and high fives.

He has gotten to a point that he loves books. He will sit and read them by himself for quite some time...and he will bring one to me, put it in my lap and then tell me up so that he can sit in my lap and have me read to him.

Jacob is just about the fastest crawler i have ever seen. And he cruises all over the place. He is not, however, walking yet. My opinion is that he is perfectly capable of it, he just isn't sure enough of himself yet. Samantha was the same way, she was capable of walking for months before she actually walked, and the first day that she walked, she just took off...I have a feeling Jacob will do the same thing.

He is also quite the monkey boy. One day I went into the kids room and found him up on Samantha's bed. He had pushed a box of blocks to her toybox, then used the box to climb onto the toybox and the toybox to climb onto her bed. Thankfully, after a few tumbles, he has now learned how to get down from her bed safely, least most of the time. He also pushes Samantha's stool over to the kitchen counters and climbs up onto the stool to see onto the counter, or to get things off the counter. What is amazing about this was that when I took Samantha for her 3 year check up, one of the development questions was: Does she use objects to get to other objects?...and gave the example of pushing a stool over to get something that is too high...and my 14 month old is doing this already! He does not know how to get down from the stool, though, instead he just cries until I lift him off.

Not everything about Jacob is sweetness and smiles, though. He is definitely working on perfecting the art of the temper tantrum...usually just when he thinks that he needs to be held or he is very tired or very hungry. And of course he does have the best temper tantrum thower to learn from, so it should come as no surprise that he is trying this form of communication out for himself. We do a lot of ignoring screaming at our house lately. I am hopeful that it will stop soon, though, at least with Jacob. And I am grateful that his tantrums are fewer than Samantha's have been in the past.

He is such a sweet boy, and it is fun to watch him grow and change almost daily. We are so grateful for the gift of Jacob in our life!

This wasn't Jacob's first snow day, (that happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when he was only 2 weeks old) but it was the first time that I took him out in the snow. Of course, he didn't stay out for long, just long enough for a few pictures, then he went to play with Aunt Ginger while I stayed outside with Samantha :) Thank you, Aunt Ginger!!!

The hazards of being the younger brother of a have to deal with lots of pink things. A pink pony, pink bibs...Brent did draw the line at having him wear Samantha's pink pajamas, though!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Not Quite Getting It

We are working on potty training with Samantha. It is a lot of work and not a lot of fun, but I did get a laugh from it the other day.

We had gone into the bathroom and she was sitting on the potty. I heard Jacob crawling into the kitchen, so I went to check on him. When I came back near the bathroom, Samantha told me, "Mommy, I need privacy." I said "OK, call me if you need me," and closed the door. A few seconds later, she hollered "Mommy! I have a problem!" I came back to the bathroom and asked what she needs. She answered, "I can't go potty without you in here."

I smiled. And I don't think she quite gets the privacy idea.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I'm not sure how long I have been making these enchiladas...since sometime in college is all I know. I got them from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and I mostly follow the recipe, but sometimes do a little more or less of some things. I start with a bag of chicken leg quarters and use most of the 10 lb bag, so I always end up making chicken and dumplings AND enchiladas since there is so much chicken. I also find that the recipe makes much more than the 8 enchiladas that it says it makes, but the amount varies each time...probably because I don't follow the recipe exactly :) You could probably make it quite a bit easier by using pre-cooked or canned chicken...but I really like the taste of the chicken that I have made for chicken soup and of homemade chicken broth. Even though they take a bit of time, these enchiladas are really yummy, so I thought that I would share.

6 inch tortillas (I use some corn and some flour. I like the corn better, Brent likes the flour better...and honestly, the flour tortillas are much easier to roll into enchiladas)
1/2 cup chopped onion (I usually just use a whole onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced (We have a jar of minced garlic in the fridge and I just through some is quite a bit more than the 4 cloves that are called for)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp margarine or butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 8 oz carton sour cream
2 cups chicken broth
1 small can diced green chili peppers
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (I usually use 1.5 to 2 cups)
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken (if you make your own broth, the chicken doesn't have to be chopped, just cook until the chicken falls apart on its own and then you have shredded chicken that works great)
sliced black olives
chopped tomatoes
sliced green onions

In a saucepan, cook onion, garlic, coriander and pepper in margarine until onion is tender. Stir flour into sour cream, then add to onion mixture. Stir in broth and chili peppers. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese (I usually add a full cup or so at this point) Stir 1/2 cup sauce into the chicken (sometimes it takes a little more than that) I often end up adding more chicken b/c I have so much sauce left over, just do a little at a time so that you will still have sauce left over to top the enchiladas.

If you are using corn tortillas, I prepare them by microwaving no more than 4 at a time in between wet paper towels...about 30 seconds is usually good...when they are hot and moist, they are less likely to crack as you roll them. Flour tortillas do not require any preparation.

Place filling on top a tortilla, then roll and place seam side down in a lightly greased baking dish. Repeat until baking dish is full. Top tortillas with some of the remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350F for about 35 minutes. (If you forget to cover the dish, like I did this last time, the enchiladas will be too dry, so make sure you cover them!) Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake uncovered for about 5 more minutes, or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions, tomatoes and olives if desired.

These also freeze very well as long as you have not put the tomatoes, green onions and olives on top yet.