Friday, March 27, 2009

Uh, oh!

Julia's word of the week is, "Uh, oh!" She started saying this word/phrase on Monday at the grocery store. Julia and I were browsing the aisles, saying "Uh, oh!" to each other. Julia seemed to enjoy the fact that she and I were saying the same thing. Nothing really triggers Julia to say "Uh, oh!" She might say it while she's playing, when she's sitting in her high chair, when she's riding in the car.

While we're on the subject of communicating, I'll give an update on Julia's baby signs. She still does milk and all done at the appropriate times. She also seems to understand that when she signs more she gets more of whatever - snacks, kisses, tickles, etc. It's so fun to "talk" to Julia!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


We've noticed that Julia favors her left hand lately. That's the thumb she sucks to put herself to sleep. And when she put snacks into her mouth, that's the hand she is most successful with. Evelyn always sucked her right thumb, and she is right-handed . . . so now we're wondering if we have a red-headed south-paw in the house.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


This afternoon, Evelyn and I headed to Washington, D.C. to see the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. This was Evelyn's third trip to the circus, and she was really looking forward to it. This probably goes without saying, but Troy stayed home with Julia because we figured that would be too much excitement for the baby.

We arrived early enough to take part in the preshow. This was a chance for us to wander around, meet some of the performers, and see up-close stunts and tricks. Evelyn had her picture taken with a couple of clowns, a cossack rider, a "Dream Girl" and one of the aerial stunt guys. You can tell by the genuine smile on Evelyn's face that she is completely thrilled to be that close to circus performers.

Just like the previous two trips to the circus, our souvenir was a show program. Evelyn loves books, and the program is like an oversized magazine that highlights all of the acts. The pictures are great, the words rhyme, and it totally captures the feel of the show. It's the best souvenir, in my opinion.

We were entertained and amazed by all of the circus acts. It's hard to say what Evelyn liked the best. If you ask what was her favorite thing, she answers, "All of it!" She didn't miss a thing during the two-hour show: trapeze artists, cassocks (horses), aerialists, tigers, elephants, motorcycles in a ball, clowns and more.

Can you guess what Evelyn chose for her bedtime "book" tonight? Yep - her circus program!

Friday, March 20, 2009

11-Month-Old Baby

Julia's 11-month birthday is today. It's so hard to believe exactly one year ago today we didn't know whether the baby was a boy or a girl. And now we have this cheerful, chubby bundle of joy!

Julia's daily routine is exactly like it was a month ago:
8:00 - Wake up, eat
10:00 - Morning nap
12:30 - Eat
3:30 - Afternoon nap
5:30 - Bottle
6:30 - Eat
8:00 - Bedtime
Her naps last anywhere from one to two hours. Like most babies, when she's not eating or sleeping, she is playing (or reading).

You would've seen a post about any news in the way of Julia moving on her own, so that hasn't happened, yet. If something is out of her reach, she simply gives up after a few attempts and plays with something that is closer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Customers

Yesterday, we headed over to the bird store in search of a goldfinch feeder. Mission accomplished! We got a feeder that has wire mesh all the way around, so that the goldfinches can cling onto it anywhere. We came home, filled it up with Nyjer seed, and hung it up in the tree in our back yard. It was probably only a couple of hours before our first new customers found the feeder. Now, in addition to the many birds who freqent our safflower feeder (juncos, titmice, cardinals, house finches, chickadees, even an occasional/confused woodpecker), we have goldfinches joining our backyard party.

Stay tuned next month, when we put out our hummingbird feeder.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Julia Prefers . . .

. . . books! For the last couple of days, Julia has shown a preference for books. She might have a bright, colorful, magnificent toy in front of her plus a couple of board books. When given that choice, Julia leafs through her books and doesn't pay any attention to the toy. It's so much fun watching her look at her books, front to back, upside down and right-side up.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Restaurant Entertainment for a Baby

How do you keep Julia occupied in a restaurant? It's quite simple:

Step 1 - Let Julia bang on the menu with her hands while everyone else decides what to order. This does mean you are one menu short, but that's okay. It teaches Evelyn the importance of sharing.

Step 2 - Feed Julia her supper (tonight was multi-grain cereal and pears) while everyone else waits for their food.

Step 3 - Let Julia play with stickers.

Stickers are an amazing source of entertainment for a baby. They kept Julia content for half an hour while we ate our supper.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mommy-and-Evelyn Day

Today Evelyn and I headed up to the Baltimore area for trains and ice cream. Troy decided to stay home with Julia so she could have a normal day with normal naps. Therefore, Evelyn declared today's outing a Mommy-and-Evelyn day.

After driving up to Baltimore, our first stop was the B&O Railroad Museum. We got there around noon, and we ate our sack lunches in the car before heading into the museum (no food allowed). I know we were just at the train museum a month ago, but today was a special day: turntable demonstrations. Evelyn has seen two other turntables in action (Fort Worth, Texas and Golden, Colorado), but not the turntable at her favorite train museum. And Evelyn had a hunch that her favorite engine - William Mason - would get to ride on the turntable.

The first vehicle that went for a spin on the turntable was a rail-car. Next came an old coal car. Then, the moment Evelyn had been waiting for, William Mason was pushed (shunted, in Evelyn's train terms) onto the turntable. With one man pushing from below the trap door in the turntable floor, the William Mason steam locomotive went around one time. Finally, the engine was pushed back into its bay. Naturally, I took videos to post on Evelyn's YouTube account, so if you click on the links above, you will go to each of the three videos.

After a fun couple of hours at the museum, we headed north of town to meet Kat and Ross for ice cream. They've sung the praises of Broom's Bloom Dairy, and now I know why. They have awesome flavors, and the ice cream is so creamy and good. I just had to bring home a couple of quarts to share with Troy. It's a good thing we don't live as close to that dairy as Kat and Ross do, otherwise we would be there all the time!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Julia's Baby Signs

Julia has been going gang-busters with her baby signs lately. It all started almost a month ago when she mimicked all done. That was the first baby sign we did with Julia because she wasn't convinced that her food or bottle was out. We still don't think she understands the concept of something as important as food being all gone, but she copies our gesture nonetheless.

We've been doing baby signs for milk, eat, bath, more, and book. When we say any of those words, she looks at our hands to see what else we're going to do. Plus she can make the signs for milk and more (in addition to all done). Naturally, Julia isn't old enough yet to ask for certain things by using baby signs, but she is definitely catching on to the concept. Even though she merely copies us at this point, it's fun to see her figuring out baby signs!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Did You Say?

As some of you know, Evelyn is always testing her limits. She knows where they are, but she constantly needs to check to see if they're really still there. Today's lunch episode is a perfect example.

Evelyn had stuffed an entire slice of apple in her mouth and was chewing it. Then she tried to say something to me. I reminded her that she shouldn't talk with her mouth full. Less than a minute later, Evelyn started talking again (with her mouth still full of apple). This time I issued a warning, reminding her that if she talked again with food in her mouth she would go to the naughty spot. Evelyn looked me square in the eye (with a twinkle in hers) and said, "What did you say?" Like I said, always testing.

By the way, her last comment (with mouth full of food) did, indeed, land her in the naughty spot.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Railfanning at Point of Rocks

Even though it was cloudy, the weather was mild today. So Evelyn and I headed out to Point of Rocks, Maryland to railfan. This means you hang out by train tracks (we prefer train stations) and wait for trains to go by. This is how we shoot the videos for Evelyn's YouTube account.

Today really tested Evelyn's patience . . . or was it mine? In the two hours we waited, we only saw one train - the Amtrak. The engineer did some fancy stuff with the horn, so that was neat. And we did get a video, so today's excursion wasn't a complete bust.

Evelyn is so train-crazy and loves freight trains so much, she probably would've waited all day if it meant seeing more trains. But we only had a certain amount of snacks and water, and I could only let her play in the ballast rocks, so we had to head home eventually.

Friday, March 6, 2009

After the Snowstorm

After Monday's snowstorm and Tuesday's bone-chilling cold, our schedule got back to normal. I'm also getting around much better on my walking cast, which allows me to do normal activities.

Wednesday Evelyn went to preschool. Thursday we met friends at "Shaker Egg" library (also known as Germantown library) to play in their special room, followed by lunch and more playing at Chick Fil-A. Friday was preschool for Evelyn, and I braved shopping at both Target and the grocery store.

Since the weather warmed up considerably, we girls headed over to the park as much as possible. I know that spring hasn't sprung in Maryland, yet, so we take advantage of the warm days as much as possible.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Soccer Baby

Evelyn isn't the only one who loves soccer - Julia seems to be drawn to the sport, too!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Feathered Customers

The cold weather, combined with today's significant snow, has attracted quite a few birds to our feeder in the backyard lately. This morning there was a flurry of activity as our regular visitors dined on safflower. I was lucky enough to catch both a cardinal and a junco on the feeder at the same time. The little junco must have been desparate for food - they usually eat on the ground.

Big Snow Day

We got our predicted six inches of snow today! This meant no preschool for Evelyn, and Troy stayed home, too. He waited until it was done snowing (late in the morning) before heading out to unbury the cars and scoop the sidewalk. Naturally, Evelyn bundled up and went outside, too.

First, she helped brush the snow off the cars. Then she found a great patch of undisturbed snow to make a snow angel. After getting bonked in the head with the shovel, followed by running around and making more snow angels, Evelyn was cold enough to come inside. This is the best part - bundling up in warm, dry clothes and sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows. Snow days are the best!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grandma Luster

This week we had Grandma Luster here to help us out while I continued to be on crutches from my ankle surgery. Just like the previous week, we kept Grandma Luster hopping by driving Evelyn to all of her weekday activities: preschool, soccer and dance. I was also able to bring Evelyn to a couple of play dates while Grandma stayed home with Julia.

And let's not forget about all the cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning Grandma did! And diapers - I think it's been over a week since I've last changed Julia's diaper . . .

At the end of two weeks of grandmas helping us with our day-to-day activities, Troy and I think they have both gone home to have a vacation. We certainly kept them busy!

Not the Pancake Man

Troy may be the Egg Man in the house, but after this morning's breakfast, he is no longer the Pancake Man.

When we make pancakes, we make them from scratch. No boxed mixes for us. Troy has made pancakes several times with the help of his sous-chef, Evelyn. But this morning, something wasn't right. When I took a bite, at first I thought they tasted a little salty.

A few bites into her plate of pancakes, Evelyn started scrunching up her nose and saying they didn't taste right. I took a big swig of cranberry juice part-way through my plate of pancakes, and when I took another bite, they tasted bitter.

The last straw for Troy was when Evelyn refused to finish her pancakes and asked for Cheerios instead. This is highly unusual - Evelyn usually eats more pancakes than I do. Troy read through the recipe again, and realized his mistake: he flip-flopped the measurements for baking soda and baking powder. That would also explain why they didn't puff up like they usually do. From here on out, it looks like I will once again be in charge of pancakes.

Homemade Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil