Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thoughts on My Day

In my last two work days, I have spilled iced coffee and lemonade on my bulging belly. Today's goal: clean shirt.

Curious George spent this morning’s episode predicting weather based on cloud types. I thougth that would be a fun thing to add to our morning routine ("What's the weather like today?") until I realized that blue sky everyday might not be that interesting. Rough problem!

Why is my computer running so slow this morning?

The half and half in the fridge at work says, “sell by July 25” and is not yet sour… If I end up at Urgent Care, you'll know why.

Everything work related seems to be converging - loose ends unraveling instead of getting tied together, projects once far in the future becoming urgent, unexpected tasks getting added to the list - it's going to be an interesting trick to get all this ready to transfer to someone else in ten weeks.

My computer is still running ridiculously slow - not helpful in remedying the previous issue.

I think this baby is trying to push his way out through my belly button. S T R E T C H...

Scott and I got invited to a swanky fund raising dinner this weekend (and found a sitter). We have a wedding to attend next month. None of my maternity clothes are going to cut it. I need a new dress.

Curse the slow computer - I'm going shopping.

New dress! Clean Shirt. Dinner in the park with friends. Happy, exhausted kid. No dishes. Ahhh...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Local Food Status Report

After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last winter, I was motivated to set a New Years' resolution to try and eat more local, seasonal, and organic foods. We've taken the approach of making small changes one at a time - no massive, sweeping changes or moratoriums on certain foods. We want this to be a slow, manageable change that sticks, not a single year experiment that we can't wait to bail out of come December. Sooooo... how are we doing?

What's working:
Buying in Season. We didn't totally write off avocado, but we ate lots more root veggies in the winter and waited for the summer farmers markets to purchase any peaches or tree fruit. Instead, I bought canned fruit this winter. Side bonuses: new recipes to try, most canned pears/peaches come from Washington, my picky toddler LOVES canned peaches.

Local, free-range eggs! I have an past co-worker that started a little farm 20 minutes outside Bend a few years ago. I used to haphazardly buy eggs from Jim at the office, but we made our subscription official in the spring and started getting a dozen dropped at our door every other week. Side bonuses: beautiful colored eggs (not a white one in the bunch), healthier eggs (tests show free range eggs have lower bad cholesterol and higher good stuff), and a great little farm for our play group to visit this summer!

Produce Box. We signed up for a CSA share through Big Star Farm (same as the eggs). In the spirit of little steps, we're splitting the share (every other week) with a friend. It's much more manageable to tackle a bag full of unusual produce (Kohlrabi anyone?) for a week and then get to return to our old favorite recipes the next. We started the spring will bags full of spinach and right now I have a fridge full of purple carrots and snow peas and more squash than anyone should probably consume. At least it inspires creativity - zuccini muffins, chocolate zuccini cake, yellow squash pasta salad...

Container Garden. I posted previously about our container garden. Three little pots of tomatoes and herbs are keeping me happy, money in our pocket, and all the caprese salad on my plate I want. Is there anything better than tomatoes and basil? Okay, maybe chocolate.

Farmer's Market. We have one just a 5 minute drive from our house, so Owen and I hit that on Friday afternoons when we need to stock up on fruits. It certainly feels like summer to sit on the front porch eating blueberries...

What's not working:
Setting some sort of mileage limit for our food. It was never our goal to "only eat food grown within a 100 mile radius" like the locovore (isn't that a great word?) movement promotes. Oregon may have a wonderful bounty, but the high dessert on this side of the mountains would leave us eating sagebrush all winter! I'm reading labels to try and eat more Oregon-Washington-California if possible, but we're not giving up our local brands anytime soon.

Picky Toddler. Our local food emphasis certainly takes a back seat to "whatever the kid will eat today." I finally found an Annie's Organic Mac n' Cheese flavor that he likes, but we're still buying Kraft Easy Mac, Pirate's Booty, and Cheese-its in the bulk box. (Okay, okay, we'd be buying bulk cheese-its regardless of Owen's eating habits, and I ate my fair share of Easy Mac last spring as well.)

Hit and Miss Cookbooks. I bought Deborah Madison's "Local Flavors" but haven't been overly impressed. I like that the book is supposed to be organized by seasons, but they don't seem to be in any logical order. We also tend to eat one pot meals, and her book has more salads and sides. At least we're getting to test lots of recipes (thank you world wide web!) and adding to our repertoire for the future.

Side effects:
Backlash. As the summer moves on and our produce box keeps filling our fridge and counter with beautiful produce, I'm finding that I am craving junky, processed food. Granted, the cravings could be pregnancy related, but we had a pretty funny meal last week of tomato-cucumber-basil salad served alongside chicken nuggets and tater tots.

Wonderful Meals. I was so excited by a recent meal that consisted of grilled chicken in herb marinade, lemony potato salad, and caprese salad. Every bit of herb and produce (minus a lemon) came from our CSA or the pots on our porch. Last Sunday's meal was garlic-lime flank steak (okay...Costco), grilled turnips and potatoes, and Mediterranean tomato salad. The picture doesn't do it justice, so you'll have to trust me that it was yummy.

Protein Shift. We've been fairly intentional about eating at least one meatless, egg-based dinner on the weeks we get our eggs. I also recently discovered that we're not powering through the bag of Costco chicken like we used to. I can't tell if it's a side-effect of summer and having tons of veggies that must be consumed, but time will tell.

What's next:
Local Meats?? This is a big wild card for us. I'd like to make the shift from frozen Costco chicken to an organic source, but I don't know if I can give up the convenience (and the price). Maybe that will be our next small step... right after I swing by Arby's for some deep fried chicken bites.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Maxwell's Mountain

Everything's relative. A few weeks ago, we walked with Owen and the dog to a new-ish dog park (off leash area) near our house. It's a pretty large enclosure with gravel trails through the sagebrush and juniper trees. Owen loved hiking on the trails, especially climbing the "mountain" that's in the middle of the park. It's really a small rocky mound that gets you MAYBE 10 feet higher than the rest of the park, but as soon as we got to the top, he yelled, "Yeah Owen! Climb mountain!" It was also the first thing he had to tell Miss Holly about at school on Monday. I'd like to think this excitement comes from a pure love of the outdoors or from living in close proximity to amazing natural surroundings, but I'm pretty sure it's because we have a great book called, "Maxwell's Mountain" that tells the story of a boy named Maxwell who climbs a similar "mountain" in his neighborhood park. No matter.

When I told Owen we were taking Hudson back to the park today, he declared "need backpack" (just like Maxwell). We sparked lots of smiles walking around the park, Owen in sunglasses and a backpack, telling every stranger we passed that he was going to climb a mountain.

People keep asking me if we'll be getting a double stroller, but I just don't think we'll need it. I think Owen will be more than happy to concede the stroller to the baby, so he can walk on his own. On our Friday walks, I think us mom's are learning to talk loud enough to drown out the calls of "Want get out!" coming from all the joggers. =) Yesterday, the kids stayed in because we had the promise of going swimming at the end of our walk. Other weeks, we play "dodge the toddler" with our strollers because a few of the kids are almost always on foot. I'm continually amazed at the speed and stamina these 2-year olds already have.

At least we have some amazing scenery to see on those rare occasions when Owen will hang out in the backpack. Paulina Lake last month:

but ths is quickly becoming my most frequent view:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Toddler Quote of the day

On our way to daycare on Monday:
O: Want Owen music mama.
A: You want to listen to your music Owen.
O: Yea. Mama listen man talking. No want man talking. Want Owen music.

We always say that Bend radio leaves much to be desired, but perhaps I'm listening to a bit too much NPR...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting Ready for #2

Things we are doing to prepare for baby #2:

Reading - we decided to get Owen used to the idea of a new baby by first reading books. My favorite so far has been "Cornelius P Mud, Are you Ready for Baby?" The others at the library haven't impressed me - mostly because they have full pages of words, and don't quite work with a 2 year old with a short attention span. I've gotten good recommendations for "We have a Baby" and "I'm a Big Brother" so maybe those will be in my next Amazon shipment.

Talking - Owen now says that mommy has a baby in her tummy. Good start.

Big Boy Bed - we bought a great little bed for Owen at Ikea and figured we'd build it for him in the fall, but he was really protesting going to sleep in the crib last week. Always wanted to sleep on the floor or in our bed. We thought we'd try setting up the bed and give him the choice of where to sleep for a month or two. Well, after helping us build the bed, he was so stoked that he took a nap in it that afternoon and hasn't looked back.

For the first few days, I don't think he knew he could climb out of the bed, but now Scott has deemed him the "Sleeping Ninga." When he decides to climb out of bed, he is SILENT. Our only warning in the morning is the clanging of his door handle, and last night he showed up in the kitchen (15 minutes after I put him to bed), grinning, and declared, "I have GOOD nap!" Scott and I were both fighting hard to keep the laughter at bay on that one. It looks like we have some bedtime battles ahead of us, but we've seen SuperNanny.

Baby Doll - Owen got to pick out his own baby doll last weekend. He was pretty excited, and knew just how to give the baby a bottle and put her down on the couch to rest. It made me realize that he's been around a TON of babies at daycare, so maybe we're in better shape than I thought.

Other Stuff - We're thinking about putting both kids in the same room. The more I read about the idea, the better it sounds, but we'll just have to see how it goes. I had high hopes of getting rid of the binky and tackling potty training before the baby arrives, but those things may not make the timeline.

What's missing from this list:
Anything relating to preparing ourselves for the baby. Oops. All those things that were all consuming in a first pregnancy have gone out the window this time around. I guess a 2-year old demands a bit more attention than a baby in the belly, though this baby is doing his best to make himself known though some wicked acid reflux for mom. (Ironic note of the day: I just got prescribed the same medication that Owen was on for 6 months as a baby.) We've talked a teensy bit about names and I made my list of "stuff" we need for this baby - 4 items - but I think it's a really good sign that my energy is focused on things other than stressing about having a newborn. We've done this before... and survived. There's something so comforting in that simple statement.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tonight's Conversation

Owen has figured out that his mom and dad have names other than mom, mommy, mama, dad, or daddy, but he still has a bit of learning to do. Tonight's conversation:

O: I Owen Macsou.
A: That's right. What's my name?
O: Um.... Lissa!
A: What's daddy's name?
O: Sott!
A: That's right. Daddy's name is Scott Maxwell.
O: Nooo.
A: Yes, and mommy's name is Alissa Maxwell.
O: Nooo (very insistent). Daddy, mommy NOT Macsou. I Owen Macsou. Daddy only Sott.

We went around and around for quite a while on that, but Owen is insistent that he is the only Maxwell in the family. He's going to have a rude awakening when he figures out that there's a whole extended family (and a few zillion other people) claiming our common last name.

Friday, August 07, 2009

My Spidey and Me

This is Spidey.

He joined our family in May and has been Owen's best playmate for the last several months. Yes, Owen has much more "comforting" friends - like his blanket and stuffed doggie that live in his crib - but the plastic Spiderman (that Aunt Kate picked up in Mexico for less than a dollar) has been a favorite from day 1 and has been accompanying Owen on many adventures throughout the summer.

Spideyand Owen watch Seasme Street
Play in the forts

Owen taught him how to take a flying leap off our couch

Spidey also joined us on our trip to Portland and kept Owen (sort of) occupied through parts of the drive. Here Owen is giving Spidey a tour of our hotel at Edgefield.

Thankfully, Spidey is very durable. He has made frequent trips to the "mommy hospital" when he turns up like this:

Owen always says, "Oh no, Spidey bro-ken. Fix-it please mommy." as though he has no idea how Spidey could have suddently lost all his limbs. We've also learned that Spidey likes to swim (though his legs get pretty waterlogged), read books, rock in the rocking chair, wear Owen's PJs, and run through the airport. He will lie patiently while Owen traces his body with markers, and I've many times been asked to "draw spidey."

It really is fun to watch Owen interact with Spidey and sometimes we get an interesting clue into what's on his mind. Like the morning when Spidey seemed to be pushing Owen an awful lot and I finally asked Owen if Spidey needed a time-out. "Yes, sit here Spidey. No push Owen." I think he was testing to see if my discipine would be applied consistently or just randomly directed at him. Hillarious!

I know you can't predict what objects your kids will embrace, but this one continues to bring amusement to our household. Thanks Spidey!

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Tomato Story

We are one of the zillion families trying to grow some of our own food this year. But with a dog that destroys our backyard, the tough Central Oregon climate, and a baby in the belly, we decided to start small. My Mother's Day gift was the supplies for a small tomato and herb garden on the front porch. It started with meager beginnings...

But with sporadic watering (with my pint-sized helper), blazing sun, and the addition of some filler flowers, things started to take shape.

It's been a challenge to keep Owen from eating the green tomatoes, but he now points to them and says, "Not yet. No red tomato." But last week, we got our glimpse of red...okay, the tomatoes are still orange, but close enough.

My pint-sized helper got to be the first taster. Considering his rejection of most foods this days, I had no idea how it would go over, but it turns out this kid LOVES home grown tomatoes... who doesn't?

Success!We also started getting tomatoes in our weekly produce box, and Owen ate them faster than I could slice them in half. I told Jim and Jessi that my non-eater loved their tomatoes and they promised extras in our box this week. =)

So far, we've only been tasting the cherry tomatoes (and all the basil, parsley, sage, and cilantro we need), but I've got my eye on this growing Early Girl to put in BLTs or caprese salad... Yum!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The View from 2

Two year olds view the world in a different way. Things that are perfectly logical to the adult brain are downright silly in Owen's brain. We seem to have a lot of conversations like this one:

Scott: Owen, why don't you color on some paper.
Owen: No dad. I coloring on ... my... ha-ands.
Scott: No. Let's not color on hands. Can you find some paper?
Owen. No-o Dad. I coloring on... my... ha-ands.
(All implying that we are insane for suggesting paper when there is perfectly good skin to be decorating right in front of him.)

And that's what leads to pictures like these: