Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bibbity Bobbity Boo

Well, not quite. But Cyprian does now have command of the B sound. :)

Sloppy Eating Hilarity

Blame me for showing Teresa how to "eat" play food in the style of Cookie Monster. Then thank me for discovering something that really gets Cyprian laughing!

And from a different angle:

And up close (yes, I started tossing food at him):

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Comparing Cyprian and Teresa at 6 months

My mom requested I post some pictures side by side. I'm not sure how to do that in Blogger. But here are two sets to compare our children:

What do you think? Certainly a few similarities, but their coloring and head shapes are so different, in our opinion.

Friday, November 11, 2011

6 months old & 2 and a half

We took both Cyprian and Teresa in to the doctor's office for well-child visits this week. Here are their stats:

Teresa (2 and 3/4 years old)
Weighs 25 lbs 2 oz (6th percentile)
37 in. tall (62nd percentile)
Long and lean :)

We are so pleased that Teresa is back on the charts, weight-wise (she had dropped to 1st percentile a year ago). Our nurse practitioner encouraged us to continue using bribery (small treats like 2 pieces of candy corn or a few marshmallows) to get her to eat meals.

Cyprian (6 months old!)
Weighs 17lbs 3 oz (45th percentile)
28 in. tall (92nd percentile)
Big boy :)

Our little man is growing well. As you can see in the video, he sits unsupported for minutes at a time. He gets excited to eat a couple teaspoons of sweet potatoes each day. He spins around on his tummy, pushes up high on his arms, and scooches backwards. He loves to "eat" ribbons, straps, and strings. He rewards Teresa for entertaining him endlessly by pulling out her hair (ouch!). He gives David the biggest grins and excited arm flaps when Papa comes home after being away for a while.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

October video roundup

Cyprian loves his Jumpster...especially when someone is watching him jump.

Supported sitting around 5 months

Peekaboo fun

Playmat fun

Exersaucer fun

Teresa surprised me with her mouse skills at 2 and 3/4 years old: I put a piece of tape on the spot where you click and she started zooming and clicking away! Here she is playing on Starfall.

I love it when David holds both the children. Teresa "fishes" quite well with her magnetic puzzle. Cyprian would like to eat the fish.

Eating a Cyprian pizza

All Saints costume (borrowed from Katherine L.)


Cyprian has been sleeping terribly for weeks. He wakes 5 or 6 times every night and either really needs me (nursing or diaper change) or can't settle himself back to sleep. We wondered if perhaps sharing our room was disturbing him frequently (he seems to be a light sleeper), so we decided to give him his own space.

Yesterday David spent a couple hours moving no less than 8 pieces of furniture from room to room and now we have:

1. A nursery (picture above), complete with crib, glider, dresser, and changing table. The room will still serve as storage for office/craft/school items as well. We can easily access the hall bathroom from the changing table (which is necessary with cloth diapering).

2. Teresa's room. It now has her bed (still just mattress and boxspring on the floor) and the guest bed, as well as a bookcase, toy/game cabinet, and dresser.

3. Master bedroom. It now has so much more space...enough for me to create a quiet corner with chair, table, and lamp. Perhaps this will help me sanctify my days with prayer more faithfully. The prayer corner brings me great does being able to get in and out the side of my bed!! (I've been crawling back and forth from the end of the bed since the cosleeper or crib was previously stationed at the side.)

So, how did Cyprian sleep in his new digs? Same old, same old. I was up with him 5 times between midnight and 3:30. Then he slept until about 6 am. I think his teeth (still under the gums) are hurting. Sigh.

And how are we going to accommodate our regular guest, David's dad? Tonight we're going to try having him sleep in Teresa's room (on the guest bed) and drag her mattress into our room. We'll see how it goes!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Voicing his complaint

Today Cyprian's fussing took on a kind of complexity.

Cyprian tries rice cereal

Cyprian has been grabbing at our food with excited vocalizations and facial expressions for a couple of weeks. I was going to wait until he turned 6 months old to have him try food (beyond an occasional lick of apple, etc.), but we decided to let him go for it at 5 and a half months old.

For convenience's sake, I fed Teresa boxed cereals and jarred purees her first few months of eating. This time I'm more committed to making baby food at home. It helps tremendously that my friend loaned me her Baby Bullet. Yes, it's gimmicky (a regular blender or food processor could probably do everything it does) but it's also very helpful. Making baby food with it is straightforward and easy thanks to its guide book.

First I ground organic brown rice to a powder, cooked up a batch of cereal, and froze it in tiny portions. I put a smidge in a little jar, watered it down, and gave some to Cyprian last night.

As you can see in the video, he seemed excited and pleased by the experience. We're not sure whether he liked the cereal so much as the spoon and the jar. I don't remember Teresa guiding the spoon to her own mouth right away. Cyprian WANTED THAT SPOON! But he consistently let go of it so I could put more cereal on it.

About an hour after the eating adventure, Cyprian spit up about as much as he seemed to have taken in. We'll see how it goes tonight!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Daily Feats

A $10 Starbucks gift card arrived in the mail today, and I did a happy dance.

A post on prompted me to join DailyFeats on August 25th. After registering you can "check in" various "feats" you accomplish each day. Some examples: caring for your baby, eating fruits and veggies, taking a walk, cooking a meal, cleaning the bathroom. I spent 20-30 minutes on the site each day for the first 3 days, figuring out how to use it efficiently. After that, I logged in for 10-15 minutes about 4 days each week (usually just before falling into bed at night) to log my accomplishments and rack up points.

On October 7th, I had enough points (5,000) to redeem for a $10 Starbucks gift card (my prize of choice - I like to treat myself to peppermint mochas once a month when I have gift cards). And today (less than 2 weeks later) it came. It really worked, I thought.

Hours of time on a website for a measly $10 gift card? you might be thinking. I really do try to be efficient with my time, so my efforts on DailyFeats had to be worth more to me than just the monetary/coffee reward. Here's why they were: logging my daily activities on DailyFeats made me feel like my efforts at home - the little stuff of my vocation as a stay-at-home mom - were being recognized and rewarded. I was earning points; I was working toward a greater goal and every bit added up! I began to want to do more...I found myself motivated by the prospect of getting to log in my accomplishments.

Yes, I will eat salad with lunch so I can check in !leafygreens.
I'll let Teresa help me make supper so I can check in !cooktogether.
I won't splurge at Target so I can check in !thinkb4buying.
I will prayerfully meditate on today's Mass readings so I can check in !dailyreading.
If I run that load of diapers I can check in !laundry.

When I participate in "challenges" on DailyFeats I am pushed to do more so I can earn extra points. And the activities are all really good for a person and/or her community: practice mindfulness, donate to charity, include someone who seems left out, express love, go on a date night.

I am not sure how long I will continue to use DailyFeats, but for now it's really working for me. I have struggled with the thanklessness of my vocation (and I have a very appreciative husband!) - I really miss the recognition I received in school and work. I know that, ultimately, I should strive to do everything for God alone and find contentment in seeking to please Him in all things. This is just a step toward that goal. :)

PS If you decide to try DailyFeats and like it (or if you're already on it!), let me know and we can be teammates.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grandma Rita's visit

My grandmother came to visit us for 5 glorious days. Although the weather turned a bit chilly and everyone in our family fought colds, keeping us on the down low for most of the time together, we thoroughly appreciated her company. I would have been a wreck without her here: Teresa was miserable from her cold, Cyprian was waking every 2 hours or less at night and crying in pain (cold or dairy sensitivity, we're not sure yet), I was exhausted and cranky (from the waking, cold fighting, and abstaining from dairy), and David worked the full weekend. Oh, and our dishwasher is broken, so we have to wash everything by hand.

I lost my patience frequently and barely got us to Mass on time on Sunday, but things would have been far worse without Grandma Rita (as David dubbed her for Teresa) here to hold and soothe the baby, play with Teresa, wash and dry dishes, fold diapers (three loads worth!), and all sorts of other things. She even enabled me to get an occasional nap!

Grandma discovered that bouncing Cyprian while letting him look out the door at the sunny yard and passing cars eased his suffering.

In honor of Grandma's visit I planned a tea party with our neighbors as guests. Grandma hosted so many tea parties for my siblings and cousins and me over the years...fond memories. In honor of it being Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th), we made it a Pirate Tea Party. Argghhh!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mouths of Babes Monday

Yes, we have a rubber chicken toy. He (yes, our chicken is a he) squawks when you squeeze his tummy, so we dubbed him Squawky Chicken. Teresa has been playing with him daily recently. Her musings from bed one night:

"Squawky Chicken has a vitamin on his head!"

Why, yes. His comb does kind of look like one of her vitamins!


Scene: Teresa is sitting at the dinner table, picking at her toes.

Mama to Teresa: "Don't play with your feet at the table."

Teresa to Mama: "Eat your bread. You'll feel better."

Reminded me of her earlier "calm down" - just more sophisticated now. This observant child knows I am easily bothered when I'm hungry.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Orleans spirit

Cyprian has been sporting some Fleur-de-lis in honor of Papa's hometown (thanks, Jenny and Theo!)

Video clearout: get your Cyprian fix here

Uploaded from the camera today (from the past 2 weeks):

Cutting practice

I did it. I gave my 2-year-old scissors!

When I want to keep Teresa occupied help Teresa build skills, I let her do one or more of the following tasks at the kitchen table:

1) Color with crayons (on blank scratch paper or in coloring books)
2) Play with playdough (she can choose from 3 colors and use a plastic knife with it)
3) Paint with water (she can do one page from a paint-with-water book each day)
4) Practice cutting with kid scissors (she can cut circulars from the recycling bin)

Having read and heard many stories of preschoolers (and even older kids!) using scissors to cut their own hair (or a siblings'), I was wary of letting my little one use them. But others believe it is a skill that children can work on from a young age, and I figured letting Teresa try cutting with supervision (and giving her plenty of instruction in what we do and do not cut) would be best.

After just a few practices, I'd say she's doing pretty well:

Monday, August 22, 2011

"From the Mouths of Babes" Monday

I'd figure I'd chime in a bit with some posts. Here are some good quotes from Teresa this week:

Teresa stood over the opened board game, Sequence for Kids, with over sixty multi-colored chips strewn about the guest bedroom floor. "I made a big, beautiful mess."

Frances, Teresa, and I were sitting at the table eating dinner, and I was holding Cyprian in my lap. After I finished, I moved my plate away so I could place Cyprian on the table. He has been holding up his own weight a bit better as he wobbles on his plump little legs while holding our hands.
The second his feet hit the table Teresa said, "No feet on the table."
I looked at her and said, "You're right Teresa, I'm sorry."
She smiled big. "It's okay, I forgive you."
She's catching on quick.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dancing with Papa

Good tummy time

Giggling boy!

Lunch table talk

Lately I've been putting Cyprian up on a chair (in the Bumbo) when we eat meals. That way he can see our faces and feel included. Today he thanked us with lots of chatter.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


At Cyprian's 2-month well baby visit, he weighed 13 lbs, which puts him over the 70th percentile for weight. He is also quite long, although I don't think their measurement was entirely accurate. Overall, he is in great health and developing excellently. The only concerns from the visit were persisting thrush (which has since improved) and a mild case of head flattening. I asked our nurse practitioner whether she thought it was problematic and she said it was apparent but not too bad. She highly recommended positioning Cyprian's head when he sleeps by rolling a towel or blanket and placing it behind him to prop him in one direction or the other. She also mentioned that, as he gains greater head control and spends more time upright while awake, the flattening should decrease.

Shortly thereafter, I got the Bumbo down from the attic. I had intended to wait until Cyprian was 3 months old to try it, but he's so big and seemed to tolerate being sit up I let him try it out at 2 1/2 months. Here's the very first time I sat him in it:

Not bad! I let him build up neck strength with a few short sits each day and now he enjoys up to 20 minutes there maybe 3 times a day.

Teresa loves having him accessible, down on her level. "Mama, I'm tall!" she says, standing beside him.

She covers him with affectionate touches and head-bumps, talks to him, brings him toys, and generally just entertains him by being herself when he's sitting there. Oh how Cyprian loves to watch his big sister!

Our little king on his throne!

Standing and vocalizing

Cyprian plays footsie

Because I haven't posted something in a while, here's a video to get the ball rolling:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cyprian smiles and coos

I'd been trying to no avail to capture some of Cyprian's smiles and coos on camera for over a week. Today I hit jackpot! For your viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We live less than 10 minutes away from Carowinds amusement park and pass it almost every day driving to and from the highway. I have been a long-time lover of roller coasters and other wild rides, and it seems Teresa is equally attracted to them (even though she won't be able to ride the big rides for several more years). David is eager to get Teresa comfortable in the water so she can pick up swimming skills. All of these factors contributed to our decision to purchase season passes to Carowinds again (only David and I need them, as Teresa is still able to get in free).

David has made great use of his pass already this spring and summer, taking Teresa to ride the kiddie rides or play in the water at least 4 times. She can't stop talking about her visits to the park or how much she wants to go again; it's often the first thing she tells strangers who make the effort to chat with her. "I go Carowinds!" she smiles. "I ride in boat!" (They have a boat ride for the little ones.)

We decided at the last minute (as usual) on Monday morning to go to Carowinds as a family for the first time since Cyprian's birth. I worried about all sorts of things that could go wrong (mostly about the baby being too hot) but tried to remain positive. In the end, we all had a great time. We set up in the shade, where Cyprian slept for most of the visit. David and I took turns being with Teresa in the water at Kookaburra Bay, and he took her for a ride down the lazy river. I sat with Cyprian and soaked up all his smiles (unfortunately, none made it onto the camera). I even nursed him without trouble while wearing my swimsuit. When Teresa took a snack break, David and I took turns going down one of the water slides. And on our way out of the park David insisted I do one ride. So I gave the Intimidator another try and found it thrilling. Nothing matches that experience of weightlessness!

Garden to table

In the last month and a half of nursing Cyprian, I've gone through 20 or more magazines, effectively clearing out my backlog. I've enjoyed reading about children, parenting, money, faith, and food (I receive quite an assortment of periodicals, including Cooking Light thanks to David's sister Jenny). The July Cooking Light contained an appealing recipe for which I already had most of the ingredients, so I tore it out to try.

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies calls for fresh yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and oregano, all of which I had ready from my very own garden!

Someday I might also grow the onion and garlic the recipe calls for (this lovely head of garlic came from my friend Hunter's garden). And years from now I hope to get eggs from our very own backyard chickens (I will wait to pursue this when I have a child old enough and interested in tending them herself).

I followed the recipe except for two alterations: I used fun, colorful Wacky Mac pasta and omitted the ricotta (just subbed in a bit more mozzarella). The resulting casserole was delicious!

The real test was whether Teresa and David would eat it, too. I served Teresa a small portion. At first she pushed it around with her spoon and declared, "This yucky. No can try it." But she did try it and ate a few bites herself. When I helped her eat some more, she received it gladly and even said, "This very good!" She finished her portion!

David ate all of his serving, too, although he did feel it had too many veggies and not enough seasoning. I think I'll be making this again!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Putting up my green beans

I wanted to make a record of how I prepare my green beans for freezing so that I can easily reference it when this time comes around again next year. Perhaps it might also help someone else, so here goes:

This is my second harvest of green beans (and a few wax beans to add a fun color variation, although I do not like their taste as much). The first harvest (from 3 days prior) waited in my refrigerator, unwashed in a plastic grocery bag loosely tied.

First I wash the beans and snap off their pointy ends (and any stem ends that make it into my basket - I usually snap the bean right off its stem end when I pick it) and put those in the compost container. Then I cut the beans into bite-sized pieces, usually 3 or 4 segments per bean.

Next I put the cut beans in a steamer basket (enough to cover the basket but not too thick - I did three rounds this time) and steam them, covered, for about 3 minutes.

Then I use a hot pad to dump the blanched beans from the steamer basket into a bowl of ice water. I leave them in for a couple minutes and swish them around with my hand until they are tepid. Then I use my hand to pick up the beans and lay them out on a clean dishtowel to dry a bit.

Next I shake the beans in the dishtowel and dump them onto a cookie sheet. I spread them out and put the tray in the freezer for a couple hours. This allows the beans to freeze separately so they'll come out of the bag nicely later (rather than clumping together, which they might do if frozen directly in a bag).

Here they are in a zip-top bag, ready to go back in the freezer. I dole out beans for recipes as needed (they're great in soups, stir fries, casseroles, and as side dishes).

I'll repeat this process another time or two before my beans are done for this season. I prefer to plant all my bean seeds at once so I have big harvests to put up in the freezer for future use (rather than planting a few seeds every few weeks for a more continuous harvest for fresh use).

This year I have one row of green bean plants (bush variety), so about 12 ft by 1 ft of space. Next year I might devote more space to the beans because we enjoy them so much (and I go through my frozen beans within a couple of months).

One thing I learned this year: Teresa loves green beans cooked, raw, or blanched. She'll eat them right out of my basket, off the towel as the blanched beans are drying, or as a plain side dish served at meals. Hooray!

A big thank you to baby Cyprian for sleeping for hours midday so I could put up the beans! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cyprian's Birth Story

David read over my draft and filled in some things I'd missed, so now I am ready to present:

Cyprian's Birth Story

Feel free to ask questions if you have any.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cy = Si

When we took Cyprian to the doctor's office for his first visit, I realized one of the challenges faced by the nurses who call patients back from the waiting room: they have to say the patients' names loudly regardless of how confident they are on the names' pronunciation. I would be terribly embarrassed to mispronounce people's names in front of others...but maybe they get over it quickly.

Why these musings? The nurse mispronounced Cyprian. I chuckled to David and noted that we'll probably get that a lot.

The day after Cyprian was born, when I was passing time alone in the hospital, I thought about all the words I knew that started with "cy". I realized that the majority of them are pronounce with a long I sound: cypress, cycle, cypher... I could only think of one word with a short i like Cyprian: cygnet. A baby swan. That's a nice word to compare a child's name to. Unfortunately, not everybody knows the word cygnet.

So I pulled out my dictionary when I got home and went through all the "cy" words. It turns out there are several more that are also pronounced with a short i. Some of them are nice, or at least neutral: cyclic (-al), Cygnus (the swan constellation), cylinder, cymbal. Others are negative: cynic (-al, -ism), cyst, cystic fibrosis.

Which word should I use when helping people learn/remember how to pronounce Cyprian? Cylinder?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

She wears her emotions

While my mom was visiting last week she noted that Teresa readily displays what she's feeling. You never have to wonder. She has an extremely expressive face (she uses her eyebrows like her Papa) and she uses her vocabulary to tell us (sometimes over and over) what emotions she's experiencing.

"Teresa sad."

"Teresa crying." (As if we didn't know already from the wailing!)

But the best was this past Sunday, as we drove from our church to a baptism at another church. Teresa was desperate for a nap in her own bed (and she told us as much: "Naptime! Nap!"), but there was nothing we could do. I tried to placate her with bites of my sandwich. At one point I was handing back a piece and she cried out, "Fustated!"

David and I looked at each other and laughed. Yes, my daughter learned that one from me, as I am frequently frustrated and let my family know as much. Poor girl.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's in the name: Cyprian Joseph

Here's a little background on why we chose the name Cyprian Joseph for our son.

St. Cyprian of Carthage was a third-century bishop and martyr. Nothing is known about his birth or early life in Africa; the wealthy, famous orator was in the prime of his life when an aged priest encouraged/inspired him to convert to Christianity and to embrace chastity and poverty. His election as bishop followed shortly thereafter and he valiantly led his flock and defended the faith through several persecutions and controversies before he was beheaded. David is particularly drawn to the fact that Cyprian was an Early Church Father and martyr. The texts of many of his letters, treatises, and other short works are available to this day.

First of all, we just like the name Cyprian and the Catholic heritage it conveys. Cyprian is a rare name (I doubt we'll meet another when we're out and about) and yet church-going Catholics will not be entirely unfamiliar with it because Cyprian is part of the list of saint names in the First Eucharistic Prayer (aka, the Roman Canon) the priest prays at Mass when he so chooses (and our priest does so often!).

We ask St. Cyprian's intercession for our Cyprian. Perhaps the Lord will deign to give our boy some traits for which St. Cyprian is noted: a dignified and cheerful temperament; the gifts of eloquence, administration, and energy; and an ability to write with "beauty of style" - simple, fervent, and sometimes poetic. Yes, these two English majors will be quite pleased if Cyprian learns to write well!

Cyprian is pronounced "SIP-ree-en" and that is what we will call him - not CJ, not Rian, not Ian or any other derivative.

We honor the foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Joseph, with Cyprian's middle name. David's middle name is also Joseph, and he has a special devotion to the quiet, faithful, servant-hearted husband of Our Lady.

Online articles about St. Cyprian of Carthage:
New Advent Encyclopedia
Saint of the Day

Oh, and just in case you are worried that our Cyprian may be the first in a (hopefully) long line of Roman Canon named babies...I can assure you we aren't planning on a Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, or Chrysogonus. ;D

He's here!

Our baby boy, Cyprian Joseph, arrived at 6:40 AM on Wednesday, May 11, weighing 8 lbs 4 oz at 19.5 inches. Successful unmedicated delivery occurred with story to come later. Mama and baby are recovering well. Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April belly shots

Yes, I am definitely bigger than I was with Teresa at the end of my pregnancy. I've gained the same amount of weight (maybe even a little less) but my tummy is stretchier.

I'm now 38 weeks, 4 days. No signs that Baby Boy will be coming this week.

April Teresa pics

Teresa's latest favorite thing to do while she is in "time out" is to remove her socks, put them on her hands, and play with them:

When Teresa gets hot and sweaty, her hair curls up like crazy:

Easter egg hunting in front of our new Sacred Heart statue:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rain barrel and flower bed dilemma

Here's my new rain barrel. The day after David installed it we had a downpour and the barrel was completely filled (all 80 gallons!). The spigot handle is a bit tough to turn, so I need to devise some way to make it easier on my hands. And the water comes out slowly, so I either need to be patient for my watering can to fill or, as David prefers, open the barrel lid and plunge in the can. I'd also like to put something under the spigot to set the can on...maybe gravel?

Here is the backyard flower bed David dug the Bermuda grass out of. We were deliberating how to fill it for planting (landscaping cloth or plastic and then soil, or soil amendments mixed with the existing clay?). Then it rained and we discovered that it floods. Will plant roots soak up that much water? Or will it make them all rot? Should we put down rocks?

Potty training progress

All the hard work and consistency of practicing elimination communication from the time Teresa was about 3 months old has paid off: Teresa is now (mostly) potty trained! I'd say she's been doing very well since she turned 2. She's now 2 years and almost 2 months old and she wears panties all day long, even when we go out and about. She still has about 3 accidents per week. She has only had 2 deliberate pants wettings that I can remember - I hope potty usage never becomes a control/independence issue for her.

Teresa does wear a diaper at night, since she sleeps about 10 hours in her crib and thus can't get out if she needs to go. She has woken up in the middle of the night and called out to us to "go potty" maybe twice. Otherwise, she wakes up in the morning with a dry diaper (and keeps it dry while playing in her crib for a few minutes) about 50% of the time these days. I've only been washing diaper laundry every 6 or 7 days, but oh how soon that's going to change!

The only trouble we've been having with the potty training is Teresa's unwillingness to use some toilets away from home, even with the portable potty seat she had previously accepted. Lately she's refused to sit on it and go, even after she said she had to. David suggested we use it at home again to get her comfortable on it again.

One funny thing related to pottying: Teresa will sometimes ask to go potty when she's part way through a meal. That's not uncommon, but the interesting thing is that she usually takes one more bite or one more sip before she gets down from her chair to dash to the bathroom!

Teresa sings her ABCs...mostly

Teresa has been singing songs more completely (as in, whole verses rather than just one or two phrases) lately. I tried to get a couple on video (she can do "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "I'm a Little Teapot," and "Five Little Ducks," for example) but she only gave me a decent performance of the ABCs. And performance it is, complete with bobbing head. She rushes and skips a letter here and there, but she can sing the whole thing. Including the ending...even though this time she gets caught on a replay loop and launches right back into the ABCs. :)

Simple play: Teresa flips cups

A couple days ago Teresa found some silicone cupcake cups that I haven't used in a long time. I let her play with them and kept them out so she could play with them some more. She enjoys stacking and unstacking them, flipping them, sorting the colors, and talking into them. Here's a simple example:

At the end of the video Teresa instructs me to "turn [the camera] around, like this..." so she can watch herself. :)

Be 'kay, Mama

A month or two ago, Teresa started responding to my scolding with some new phrases. They sounded like a combination of my comforting words to her: "It's okay, Teresa. It'll be okay..." and David's frequent admonition to me: "Calm down."

If you can imagine:

Me: "No, Teresa, stop that. Don't X, Y, Z!"

Teresa: "Be 'kay now, Mama. Calm down. Be 'kay."

At first I was impressed that she knew the phrases and was using them (somewhat) appropriately. Teresa shows amazing glimmers of compassion and kindness, and I thank God for that. But I was also mildly irritated that she was trying to divert my attention from her misbehavior to my own demeanor. When David heard her say "calm down" with a raised voice, he responded strongly: "You don't tell Mama or me to 'calm down.' Obey Mama. Obey Papa."

Since she started, though, she has more often used the calming words when I truly am frustrated, and not necessarily at her. For instance, this morning I was impatiently struggling to get Teresa's pants on her. I told her I was having a tough time and she held her legs still to help, then added (in a sweet, gentle voice accented by stroking hand motions): "Be 'kay, Mama. Calm down." So I did calm down, got the pants on, and picked her up. She looked into my eyes, repeated her message, and stroked my face.


If I were a saint, I wouldn't get so uptight/cranky/frustrated/demanding and need my child to help diffuse me. But I'm not a saint (yet), so God sent me an excellent helper.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March garden update

First, an admission of failure: the tomato seeds did not grow. Maybe 4 or so sprouted in each of my egg carton greenhouses...and then molded. They were fuzzy. It was just too wet. Maybe straight peat moss is a terrible medium for seed starting, or (probably) I just put too much water in it. Anyway, I tossed everything in the compost.

The new batch of compost, that is. First I moved my old batch to the garden! This picture shows what it looked like when I lifted the bottomless barrel off the pile in order to shovel it into the cart I borrowed from our neighbors. The compost could have used a few more weeks/months of "cooking" but I wanted to put it in the garden beds now, before my first planting.

I spread my compost (along with 3 additional bags of cow manure compost) over the two beds. The soil is delightfully rich and loose, and I have great hope that it will produce another bountiful harvest for us!

I decided to try semi-square-foot gardening for my first planting (carrots, lettuce, spinach, green onions, and turnips - which I bought solely out of curiosity...I don't even know if I like turnips!). I'm hoping the square plantings will yield more than rows did last year - we'll see! The lettuce in the right middle square came up on their own (from the seeds I planted there last fall). Nice!

I also planted some basil seeds in between the oregano and thyme in the first long planter. 4 strawberry plants survived from last summer (second long planter). Chocolate mint is sprouting up all over the large round pot, and I have one stem of green rosemary.