Saturday, March 31, 2012

How customer service and preschool are alike: whether 4 or 54, people want to be heard & want validation for what they're feeling.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Earning their keep

Dylan, our two year old sous chef-in-training, helps dice mushrooms. Next lesson? Meal planning!

This was moments after he tripped over his trains left in middle of the hall (again) and fell headfirst into the pantry door knob, raising a huge goose egg at his temple.

A group hug from all of us seemed to help, along with a call to the consultant nurse and an ice pack.

We've got to check him for concussion symptoms every two hours for the next 12 hours, but so far, so good.

Also, that dish he and Ava helped make? It was delish.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kids sleepover with grandparents. House eerily quiet overnight. Loved the respite but miss our kids.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Family night out

Friday night dinner at La Spiga. Kids were well behaved. Started losing them at one point near the end and turned to Thomas the Tank Engine videos on YouTube to give us time to finish our meals.

Best part? Ava to Jason out of the blue as we ate: "Thanks for taking us out Dad." Nice to see some of the home training is sinking in.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stair mistress

Trying to get more active. Baby steps: took the stairs from the lobby to the 8th floor twice yesterday. Sure, I went from a trot to a walk around the 5th floor. And I was carrying fro-yo. Hey: it's a start, right?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spelling matters

Helping review resumes and cover letters for a high level position. Many strong candidates dropped from contention by typos.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Accidental vegetarian

Momentarily stymied by request to make vegetarian portion of my chicken bacon olive spinach tomato pasta dish. It's like: can you make banana pudding without the banana?
Someone on Twitter said it's possible: her grandmother used to make her cobbler sans peaches.
I stand corrected. And I did figure it out: I just had to re-order how I prepared the pasta dish and not saute the onions and chicken in a little of the bacon drippings.

Instead, I used heart-healthier olive oil and sauteed the onions and garlic before mixing them with the cooked pasta, sliced olives, feta, and grape tomatoes and set that aside as the vegetarian portion.

Then I continued as I normally would to saute the seasoned, diced chicken and garlic in a little bacon oil before adding to the pasta mixture with chopped, cooked bacon, and the sliced olives, feta, and grape tomatoes. I usually add a spinach chiffonade but didn't have any on hand this weekend.

The vegetarian guest ate all of the dish and was appreciative that there was another food option for her at the potluck. The bacon and chicken version were also well-received. I may start trying to substitute meatless version of family favorites. It's just a habit that needs tweaking. Although we start all meal planning with "What meat are we using?"I know the kids probably wouldn't notice one or two meat-less days each week. Sometimes they ask for just buttered noodles or rice without whatever topping we're serving for dinner (turkey spaghetti, seafood gumbo, etc.).
I even found a site with vegetarian meal ideas for kids:

I'll be giving some of those a try.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Verbal breakthrough

Just a month into Dylan's six months of weekly speech therapy sessions, he's had quite the breakthrough. We're not sure if it's the therapy, the different approaches they suggested for our verbal interactions with him at home (putting things out of his reach to force him to ask for them, not guessing or aticulating for him, letting him lead the conversation, etc.), our increased emphasis on verbal interactions or if he was finally just ready, but the night before his therapy sesson, he said about 25-30 new words from a toddler "first words" book for the first time.

This was part of his therapy session. Saying something that he knows is incorrect has been a reliable way to get him talking, as the therapist does here.

He even added a new word during the session when the therapist blocked the tunnel on the train tracks he'd built: "Move!"

Since then, he's added even more words everyday, including the critical two and three-word sentences that the experts were concerned about him not using. Like last night when I was helping him wash his hands and showing him how to blow bubbles through his fingers. When I stopped, he said, "Make more bubbles!" He added the requisite "please" once I reminded him. Now he's regularly adding "please" and "thank you," which are musts for us.

A couple  days ago, Jason said Ava was dawdling as they tried to leave the house one morning and he sent Dylan back to get her while he loaded the car. He heard him march back into the house, track her down and say, "Ava: come on!"

He's picking up steam verbally and it's lovely to see. The therapist said he may not even need to continue the full six months if this progress continues. And best of all for me as a book lover: he now will not leave the house without one of his Thomas the Train books and asks for at least two every night before bed. We've come a long way. I can't wait to see what the spring and summer bring for him.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Safety lesson

Ava to my mom on when it's okay to call 911, "If you or Grandpa are lethargic."

Nana, taken aback: "And what if they ask you what that means?"

Ava: "You know: if your eyes won't open and I lift your arm and it just drops. But they're the professionals: they should know that!"

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Vocab is increasing for 27 m.o. Dylan. This week: oh man!, engine, popcorn, waffle, chicken, dress, Victor (a Thomas train) & ogre (Shrek).

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Light rail adventure

Dylan & Ava playing with trains on the light rail train. We had a lovely outing on a cool but sunny day.
We window shopped, people-watched, and I tried to keep a close eye on Dylan, who is so low to the ground and fast, that he can disappear among clothes racks the moment you turn your attention to something else. But I brought some of his little pocket-sized Thomas trains, so those kept him semi-occupied as I tried to speed-peruse the racks. Later, we sat in the sun outside Starbucks at 4th & Pine, people watched in Westlake Park, and ate snacks we'd packed.

As we headed back to the light rail station in the tunnel, the afternoon was marred by discovering we'd been spit on, apparently from an overhead walkway at Westlake station downtown.

Didn't see or feel it, only noticed the goo on me and Dylan as we walked along the platform. Who the
eff spits down into a crowd of people?! "Dirtbags," said a friend on Facebook. True dat.

I was disgusted having to clean it up as best I could with pocket tissues and sanitizer (traveling with kids means being prepared) and rode home seething, knowing I'd have to wash our coats once we arrived.

But I didn't want the kids' day spoiled, so I put on a happy face, which lasted until we arrived back at our car and I went to gas up and discovered gas is now $4.19/gal. At that price, light rail may become more a part of our weekend outings.

Despite all that, it was a lovely day. Dylan conked out a few minutes before we arrived home and I put him in bed to finish his nap and started dinner. Ava buzzed around me as I grated squash and zucchini for turkey meatballs.

"What was your favorite part of today?" I asked.
"This right now," she responded, hugging my leg and stretching up to kiss me. "Just being with you."


I will try to keep this scene in mind during her next meltdown over something inconsequential.