Monday, January 30, 2012


Griffin wants so desperately to play with Cooper.  Cooper's favorite game is fetch (primarily frisbees, but balls, ropes, kongs will all work too). 
Because Griffin is just learning how to throw, Cooper is not too interested and prefers to bring his toys to someone with a more reliable arm (Nate if he is around, but if he's not, my unreliable arm will do).
Cooper is taking careful notes because one of these days, Griffin is actually going to throw Cooper's ball and start a lifetime game of fetch with the one person in the house whose only job each day is to play.
He gets very proud of himself when he picks up the ball and gets Cooper's attention.  What an accomplishment.
Like I said, Cooper gets frustrated that Griff's throws are inaccurate and tedious so he steals his ball away and Griffin is left to play with some of his own toys. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Grandpa's Toy Box

This is the toy box Griffin's Grandpa Rob gave him for Christmas this year.  It is an amazing piece of furniture, hand-made and built to withstand more than it will endure throughout its duties as a baby/toddler/kid toy box.  The toy box is Grandpa's self-proclaimed best wood work piece yet (which is debatable, the bassinet is pretty amazing too).

Once opened, you can see how much this toy box can hold!  It also has a sliding shelf which is perfect for Griffin right now as he can't quite reach the toys in the bottom of the toy box.  I'm thinking of storing his nuks in the sliding shelf, since he knows how to open the lid and then they would be at least slightly shielded from Cooper hair.

He even used an organic finish which I am very thankful for....Griffin has already started to test his lower two teeth on the lid when he opens it.

 Grandpa also installed state of the art hinges that stay open so that little fingers won't get slammed in the toy box-how thoughtful!

We absolutely LOVE the new toy box and it has become a favorite spot for Griffin to practice his cruising along furniture (pretty sure he'll be walking by summer...crazy).  But what we love even more is that it was made especially for Griffin by his Grandpa!  I want to figure out a way to carve Griffin's name into it, and then add the names of any other children who use the toy box and bassinet.  Then as it is passed own throughout the generations, we will always know when it was made and who else has used it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter weekend up north

Last weekend we went up north to Bay Lake with some high school friends.  Though the snow cover was bleak, it was such a fun weekend to enjoy the beautiful north woods, comfortably from inside by the fire.
Griffin's favorite part of the weekend was hanging out with our friends' dog Louie.  Louie was equally enamored with Griffin, stealing his toys and nuks.
A close runner up to Griff's favorite part of the weekend was looking out and knocking on the window. 
In case you haven't gotten a good look at the two newest editions to Griffin's mouth, there they are!

Unfortunately Griffin got a cold Saturday night and had a rough time getting to bed, but he was a great sport and loved his bedroom (the closet which fit his pack-n-play perfectly).
We had so much fun with our friends, catching up, watching football, and playing lots of games.  Some weekend favorites: Wits and Wagers, Cranium and Taboo (Taboo actually got quite competitive and though some threats were made against my team, we did some slaughtering of the other team).
Saturday afternoon we made tons of appetizers and watched playoff football.  Chips and guac, veggie pizza, BBQ pulled pork, jalapeno cheese dip and others.
Our afternoon smorgasbord of food sent most of us into a food coma and lots of naps were had....
Including Griffin who took a few characteristically short naps:)
He just didn't want to miss out on all the fun!  At about 9 pm we finally decided it was time to start cooking the yummy meal we had planned and we got to it.

Though we didn't eat until about 11, the bourbon beef tenderloin, cheesy potatoes with caramelized onions, asiago cheese bread and spinach salad were delicious!  Even though up north in Minnesota is typically enjoyed May-September, it was a wonderful weekend with wonderful friends and Griffin loved every minute of it (and even did a good job on both 2 hour drives!).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Messy meal

I promise I do not let my child play with or eat mud, though the following pictures look that way.....

Teething biscuits.  To the person who invented these messy little treats: From what planet did you come, where those who were teething could actually handle these biscuits without making a complete mess of the entire kitchen and surrounding area?

It was a blast and utterly hilarious watching Griffin tackle these.  What a sensory experience.  It was like a baby science experiment.  What is this thing?  What happens if I suck on it and then wipe it on my shirt?  How about my hair, what happens when I put it in my hair?

I love how if you look closely you can see evidence that Cooper is in fact sitting right beneath Griffin's high chair.  Can't see it yet?  Look at Griffin's right hand.....Cooper hairs.

 The biscuits smelled like maple syrup (made with molasses) and he smelled like it for days, and he gets a bath daily, because his finger nails look like he works outside and he loves bathies.  A few days later I actually started to think he had Maple Syrup Urine Disease.  Yes, it's real, I remembered it from undergrad and yes, I asked my friend Katy to smell him to see if she could smell the maple syrup.  She couldn't and I know, I'm a little neurotic.

 It might be awhile before we venture back to the teething biscuits, teething doesn't seem to bother him that much.  Griffin sure had a blast sogging up some biscuits, and even though he looked ridiculous, he was still pretty darn cute.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Peeping Griff

Griffin's new favorite room in the house is the bathroom.  He loves his bathies so I think it is only natural that he gravitates toward the room where the best 15 minutes of playtime happen everyday.  He has a routine when he goes into the bathroom.

First he empties the basket under the sink that has a few bath books, toys and wash clothes.

Then he head to the shower to check if anyone is in there.  If someone is in there, he stands up and bangs on the inner shower curtain, begging to get in.
He finally makes his way to the toilet, and that is when our bathroom time ends.  Needless to say, Griffin's love of the porcelain throne and tub has prompted very frequent cleaning on my part:).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mini Meals

I love to cook.  Correction: I love food, therefore I love to cook.  Making meals together has always been a favorite pastime of Nate and mine.  We have so many memories from NDSU and Georgetown of cooking big meals with our roommates.  Side note: I highly recommend getting a group of people together once a week for "family dinner."  This was a tradition of ours in college and while sometimes studying was put on the back burner, Sunday nights were always about spending some quality time breaking bread with great friends.

When Griffin was approaching the 4 month mark (the milestone to start trying solid foods) I got really excited and started researching how to introduce food to a baby for the first time.  A book I highly recommend is, "The Petit Appetit Cookbook."  It gives great background in making and introducing first foods to a baby.

Griffin hit the ground eating.... any and everything I put in front of him.  He started with oatmeal baby cereal and after mastering the spoon we moved on to yams, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, acorn squash, butternut squash, bananas, avocados, apples, pears and plums (trying a new food about every 2 days to watch for any allergic reactions).  Then we added some greens: peas, beans, broccoli and spinach.  He also eats corn, peaches, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, yellow squash, eggs, tofu, beans, yogurt and a few types of puffs/cereals.

So far, I have made all of his veggies and fruits.  Not that I have a ton of extra free time, but since food is so important to me, I really wanted Griffin to get the best first foods I could offer him, and appreciate good food from an early age.  It gives me some peace of mind to know how the food he eats is prepared, that it is organic and preservative free and that we go through very little waste in the form of food packaging.  Another side note: cooking for Griffin was much easier this fall when produce was still being harvested locally.  If we can get it locally, that's what we prefer, however, December in Minnesota does not yield a variety of organic produce, thankfully between the local grocers we can get a pretty good selection.

I make food for Griffin probably once a week, sometimes in larger or smaller batches.  Typically, I get 4-5 fruits and veggies that I plan on making for him and set up camp in the kitchen during an afternoon nap. 

I get the food all prepped (peeled (if needed), chopped, etc.).
Peas are supposedly most nutritious frozen (very easy...just steam and puree!)

Put the veggies in the steam basket in about an inch of water.  You do not want the water to touch the veggies/fruit.

Put the lid on the pot (you want to keep as many nutrients inside as possible!)
Put the fruit/veggies in the blender....
...or the Cuisinart (or both if you are multi-tasking like me)

Or, if the veggie is in bite-size pieces, leave as is for finger foods (I started this when Griffin was about 7 1/2 months old)
Pour the puree into either tupperware (freezer safe)....
....or, ice cub trays (baby food trays)

Don't forget to label!  I usually just stick a post-it to the outside of the trays/Tupperware.  When I pop the cubes out of the trays and into a zip lock or Tupperware I re-label.  I learned the hard much as you are convinced you'll remember what that orange-ish stuff is, you forget.  So, just label it.

Plop it all in the freezer (leave some in the fridge for the next few days of eating). 
When the supply gets low, just pop a couple fruit and veggie cubes into a Tupperware and put in the fridge.  This makes meal time so much easier...a scoop of this and a scoop of that....fresh food at Griffin's fingertips-literally.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Trailblazing into 2012

Well, maybe not trailblazing in that most of the things 2012 has in store for me have been done before, by lots of different people, but are new to me nonetheless.

In order to move forward, I'd like to take a look back at the past year and reflect, cheesy but hey, I like love cheese (soft, brick, shredded, melted, crumbled, cubed, string....right Moge!).

2011 was quite a year, and I probably say this every year, but it was the best year of my life....yet.  The obvious main reason, was the birth of our wonderful son Griffin back in April

With the birth of Griffin, our lives changed in so many ways, and it has made for a new, better way of life.  Becoming parents has been so special for Nate and me, and it is a blessing we do not take lightly.  Parenthood has brought us closer together, forced better communication between us, allowed us to spend more time with our family, caused us to ask for help from friends and family and has prompted us to be more intentional about spending time together as a couple.  In fact, we even got to plan a few vacation weekends (Chicago and Cali) without Griffin to reminisce what it was like to just be a married couple again.

This year has also brought a lot of change for me in how I spend my days.  The obvious change is that I have a baby around 24 hours a day (thankfully he sleeps through 12 of them at night!), but I am for the first time in my entire life, not at school this year (learning or teaching).  While I deeply miss the connections I made with students, my friendships with my co-workers, and the opportunity to shape a year of education for my students, I am so thankful to have a new job title this year at home.  Being home with Griffin has been such a blessing and I have loved watching him grow and reach new milestones.  

While I am not teaching 7th and 8th grade students, I take everyday as opportunity to try to teach Griffin something new.  We do stay very busy with playdates with friends of mine (and his), other kids groups (neighborhood playgroup, MOPS, BSF, church nursery), taking walks (luckily the weather has allowed us to walk in December and January), and lots and lots of playtime with toys and Cooper. 

This change has brought me closer to a different set of friends, my friends that have young children-and I am so thankful to get together with them and share our parenting ups and downs.  Spending more time at home has also prompted me to tap into my DIY side and continue trying to make our house more our home, and I have attempted to become more crafty (here, here, here and here).

That being said, I have big plans for 2012....and with out sounding too new-year's-resolution-y.....In 2012 I will....

Travel with Griffin on an airplane.  We have taken a few road trips to lake houses with Griffin, and spent countless overnights at my parents', but we have yet to take a real trip with Griffin. 

Host more dinners.  Griffin is just getting to the age where our dinner plans with friends are getting a little more tricky.  We can still go out later at about 7, feed him and put him to bed in his car seat, but soon he will out grow his infant seat and we will become much more limited.  Hence, the resolution.  If we want to keep spending time with our friends, we'll just have to cook for them!

Continue to stay busy.  I would get really bored staying home everyday.  I need to continue to make plans for Griffin and me, even as his schedule changes, we need to adapt and continue to stay busy for our my sanity.

Continue my quest in becoming a Jill of all trades.  I want to learn how to do so many things and continue to improve my DIY DIY list (and I love lists) is the longest of them all:) but that's for another day.

Implement the daily/hourly/minutely round-up as adapted from mon petit amour and my father (and his father before him) who has many catch phrases to live by; such as, "If a job is once begun, do not leave it 'til it's done, whether it be big or small, do it well or not at all," and "a clean _____ is a happy _____," and finally, "clean as you go."  My round-up includes: toys away, dishes clean/put away, coffee table and dining room table clear of mail/clutter.  It is a constant process, but it makes the day better.

Cut my hair.  I'm not a big hair style person, but I do like to grow it out then chop it off and give it to Locks of Love.  2012 is going to be a year of the chop....not sure when, but sometime this year.  There, I said it.

Start a new family tradition.  I'm not sure what it will be (or maybe more than one), but I would like to start some traditions for our own family, like the countless traditions we have blended together from Nate and my family.

Doesn't sound too daunting, just some regular stuff and continuing to live our lives with an always changing, challenging and exciting little boy (did you hear that? I just called him a little boy and not a baby....whoa...he IS turning 1 in just 3 months....). we come.