Sunday, November 20, 2011

So Many Words

Our little Chatty Cathy has quite a few "words" under her belt now.  I put that in quotes, because they still require a little interpretation.  I consider her to have learned a new word when she uses the same set of syllables each time she references the word.

So, to the list:

Ba ba! or Baa!!  Always spoken passionately, and usually if you hear this, you should duck, because she's going to throw it directly at your head.

Cha-ka. She definitely knows when I say "Sophie, where's your jacket? Find your jacket!" and she can run and fetch it.  While she's looking for it, you can hear her whispering under her breath, "Cha-ka, cha-ka" but she's not as confident with this word yet.

Nana! or I've also heard Ma-nana! I don't have a picture of her with a banana, because if I handed her an unpeeled banana and tried to snap a picture, she would have already chomped through the skin of the banana and started crying.  She adores them.  If we walk by a display of bananas in a store, its over.  She will start shouting "Nanananananananananana!"  We end up buying bananas every time we see them, which is fine, of course, because she can eat two a day without batting an eye.

"Khh-Khh"  She actually hasn't connected the dots with goldfish crackers and the "K" sound, but she has these Earth's Best crackers with Elmo on the box (guess why they ended up in the cart?), and she points to them and says "Khh-Khh" pretty consistently now.

Water Cup or Bottle:
"Ba-ba." Again, this is where the interpretation comes in.  If she doesn't have a ball in her hand, and doesn't see a ball nearby (or anything else that is circular and could be seen as a ball -- a picture of a circle, a balloon, you name it), then she's probably saying "bottle" or "water cup."  While she can't say different words for these two items, if you tell her "go get your water cup" she will retrieve her sippy cup and not a bottle.  We are trying to phase out the bottle, but she seems to be convinced that a sippy cup should only contain water, and she gets this really disappointed look on her face if she takes a swig from a sippy cup and it has milk and not water.  Like we're trying to trick her or something.

Dog, or Woof:
"Roh! Roh!" or sometimes, a panting sound.  The panting sound was her very first "word," and she started doing it at about 10 months, maybe earlier, specifically from reading this little Baby Einstein book about dogs.  We would get to the page that said "Dogs pant when they are warm," and it showed a picture of a dog with its tongue sticking out, and she would pant.  So stinking cute.  She pants less now and does the barking sound more, but its not just reserved for dogs, and its not just reserved for "the noise that dogs make."  I think when she says roh! roh! she just means "Look, look, an animal of some sort!"

"Sssssss" or "Sshhhh."  This is another one of those words, like jacket, that she understands perfectly when I say "Go find your shoes" but she says "sshhhh" under her breath, like she knows the word but isn't confident to shout it yet.

Mommy's shoes/Daddy's shoes:
She can retrieve the correct item, but doesn't have a word for them yet.

Things that she finds interesting and would like to talk to you about:
"Ah-dabbie-shabbil-dabba-shaaabba! Shejabba dabbie?"  And she will say this sentence to you with great consternation in her little eyes, like she is trying to express to you the origins of the universe, only you are clearly not understanding her.  Usually I just nod, and she keeps going.  Often this includes gestures, pointing, handing me things, patting me on the face, etc.  Steven says she sounds sort of like the  little Jawas on Star Wars (the ones that sell the droids to Luke and Obi-Wan).

She's got these down, complete with waving.  A cute misunderstanding that she does -- when I say "high chair," she waves at the high chair, as if to say "Hi, chair!"

"Chhh."  She will only say this if you first say "Cheerios!" and its also spoken softly, like the "shhh" for shoes.

She's also started wandering off into our front room to play in her playhouse without us.
We can hear her in there, banging the plastic nails with the plastic hammer and saying the big sentence of gibberish, above.  She has a lot to say about her playhouse.  She goes in and closes the little door behind herself every single time -- she is a very methodical baby.

Related funny thing:  The room that we keep the playhouse in is the front sitting room, and the doorway is flanked on either side by pillars.  Sophie is utterly convinced that squeezing between the pillar and the doorjam is the only proper way to enter this room.
Note: she does not exit the room this way.  This is just the way she gets into the room.  Every, single, time.

Suffice to say, she is a hilarious little kid, and she constantly keeps us grinning.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes and increasing my baking repertoire

I keep talking about opening a cupcake bakery someday.  Its a pipe dream, at most, and yet something about it -- I just can't let go of the idea.  Steven, as you might imagine, tires of my never-ending enthusiasm for new pursuits sometimes.  So the other day, after hearing about my cupcake bakery for the umpteenth time, he says to me, "You know, I've never even seen you bake a cupcake."

Obviously that was because he didn't come with me to the cupcake workshop.  And yet, he had a point.  If I'm going to open my cupcakery someday (perhaps in my retirement years, at this rate), I will need to have established a repertoire of recipes.

Enter Pinterest, a seemingly neverending resource for beautiful cupcake recipes.  I have pinned approximately seven billion of them.  I picked my first one to try out this weekend: Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes with Coffee Icing and Cream Cheese Frosting!

And as a bonus, I got to use my stand mixer for the first time since we moved into the new house!


I find it funny and endearing that my kitchen countertop is now never without a sippy cup in plain view.  I apparently didn't even notice it before I took this picture. Mom life. Word.


The assembly was really the most time-consuming part of these cupcakes.


You had to fill them halfway with batter, then swirl in a cinnamon/brown sugar mix....


Then feed your toddler an animal cracker while she watches you bake,


Then more filling and swirling.


They looked pretty good after all of that assemblage, though.


Unfortunately, Sophie has very little patience for Mommy's cupcake endeavors.


Fast forward 20 minutes for cooking time and another 30 minutes to cool completely (and to pacify the toddler)...

Enough with the standing in the kitchen already, Mommy!

... and then I made the coffee icing.


And by the time I got to the cream cheese frosting step, it was Sophie's bedtime.


(These cupcakes would not take a normal person 6 hours to complete.  I am obviously just incredibly bad at time-management-plus-small-kid-management.)


End result though? Totally worth it.


Messy, but incredibly delicious.


I took the rest of them to work as bribes for my coworkers.  I find that plying people with sweet baked goods is helpful for office morale.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

On Why Literature Can Never Really Be Replaced

Steven drove Sophie and I out to a Best Buy in Gainesville, Virginia yesterday, under the premise that he needed a new cell phone case for his phone.  Sophie and I moseyed around the store until he was ready to go, but when we met him at the checkout, he had a surprise for us.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On the mend

We woke up nice and early this morning, as she likes to do every Saturday morning.  Only this morning, she was being very sweet and easy-going.  Sat in her high chair and dutifully ate her bananas and Cheerios and drank her milk.  No screaming fits, no throwing the bottle onto the floor, nothing.

Tired morning eyes.

I watched her and thought to myself, "Wow, you are so much easier to parent when you aren't (a) teething, (b) experiencing horrific diapers and consequential diaper rashes, or (c) puking all over the place."  Poor baby has had a difficult time these last few weeks.


We had an especially rough go of it last week.  Sophie got very ill on Sunday afternoon, so Steven stayed home with her on Monday.  Turns out she had a 24 hour tummy bug, but it was mighty unpleasant.  Even worse, Steven and I both simultaneously came down with it on Wednesday.  It was really awful, and I would be okay with never experiencing that, ever again.

But here we are and its been a good three days since all of that, and I think we are all recovered. (Please, Jesus.)


Its looking rather chilly outside these days - there's frost on the ground here in the mornings.  We've had to bundle up more, which has been a fun change of pace (at least for now).


I think we are just planning to take it easy today.  Do some laundry, rest, keep recovering.  Sound good, Soph?

Sure mom, whatever.  Hey, can I open this drawer?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Complaints Department

My back hurts.  I blame Scarlett entirely.

I left work today at 5:30 pm, walked out the door and was plunged into darkness. Blah, winter.

I was going to make cupcakes tonight, but I left the recipe in my bag.  And my bag is in my car.

The door to the garage beeps when you open it, which could potentially wake up Sophie.

Therefore, no cupcakes tonight.

I am having a consolation muffin instead.  It is chocolate chip.  That helps.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pumpkin Patch!

It appears we are past the barfs for now.  Steven stayed home with Sophie today to make sure she was okay, because I had a big court argument to do in the afternoon.  He enjoyed his stay-at-home-dad day and during her morning nap (around 10 AM), he mentioned to me how much he was enjoying the day with her.  By the time I walked in the door at 4:15 PM, she was napping for a second time and Dear Old Dad was starting to look a bit weary. :)  Happy, but weary.  That stay-at-home stuff is not for the faint of heart.


There's an adorable little pumpkin patch a few minutes from our house, called Heather Hill Gardens (which I've blogged about before during the summer), and our fledgling group of mom attorneys (the Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association, based on the idea out of MAMA Seattle) decided to do a Fall Pumpkin Patch Event there.

This way for fun!

Carrie is one of my attorney-mom friends.  The idea of the Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association (MAMA) is that we get all the attorney-moms together so they can talk about issues relating to their life and law practice.  Depositions and diapers.  Its an odd combo but it works.


As you might imagine, Sophie loved the pumpkin patch.  (See us waving?)


She even wore her special pumpkin sweater for the occasion.


Hard to tell, but she's riding on a teeter-totter below.  Grammy and Grandpa came with us to the pumpkin patch.


I'm not sure she fully understands how a slide works.  She got to the bottom and just sat there like it was a chair.


Um, do I get up now, or something?

She absolutely loved seeing the sheep and goats at the "petting zoo" and I use that term loosely because there were signs indicating that those who attempted to pet the animals could draw back a hand with significantly fewer fingers.  So perhaps it was just a "looking zoo."


She growled at the sheep.  She makes the same noise for lots of different animals in her books here at the house -- "Aaarrggghhh" is the noise for horses, bears, sheep, etc.  Dogs get either panting noises or a "hoo, hoo" that sounds more like an owl than a barking dog.  Cats also get the "hoo hoo" noise.  We haven't figured out "meow" yet.

The sheep says aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggghhhhh.

The sign on the sheep pen says "Please keep fingers out of animals' mouths. They will bite."  Not a very comforting sign for a nervous mommy.


As the morning went on, it got warmer and sunnier outside, and turned into quite a nice day.


Here are all the attorney moms and their kids -- we had a great turnout for our third-ever event!  If you want more info, MAMA of Northern Virginia is on Facebook.


And here is Daddy with Grammy and Grandpa, giving Sophie the tour of all the pumpkins.  Grammy and Grandpa were in town for Sophie's first birthday and graciously agreed to squeeze in next to Sophie's car seat so that we could all ride in one car to the pumpkin patch.


Its hard to believe that in a few months, we will have two kids and two carseats!  We'll have to start taking two cars wherever we go, anytime we have family in town.  Either that or buy a minivan, and I'm fairly certain where Steven stands on the idea of owning a minivan.  (Hint: It's a no.)

Also hard to believe that its been almost a whole month since we went to the pumpkin patch, and Sophie is almost 13 months old already.  The fall trees are still holding their gorgeous colors, and I'm grateful for the delayed onset of winter, even though we did have to change the clocks this weekend.  At least we gained an hour!  Happy Fall, everybody!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sausage and Kale Soup and a Toddler who was happy for half the day...

As I write this, Sophie is asleep for her first nap in her "big girl bed."  We put a twin mattress on the floor in her room, put a toddler railing on it, and we make sure to close her door so she can't get out of her room (the stairs are awfully close to her doorway).  Seems to be going well so far, knock on wood.  Maybe I won't have to buy two cribs, after all.


Given her generally happy and fun-loving mood today, I'd say we've finally broken through that molar that was causing us all the trouble last week.


We didn't really grasp just how badly she must have felt until we got to see her on "the other side" of this pain -- she has SO much more energy now.


It just proves to me that she really was feeling terrible for the last couple of weeks.


She is also talking up a storm.  So far, I have heard the following words from her:  "Dada" (which she actually says as "dadadadadadadada!" and it was probably her first word that she connected with a person), "Bubbles" (she says it "bah-bull" and points to them in the sink when I am washing dishes or in the bathtub when she's taking a bath), "Baby" ("ba-ba" and she will run to pick up her baby doll), "Bottle" (also "ba-ba" but doesn't sound quite the same as Baby or Bubbles), "Mama" (sometimes she says this when she is sad, like "mah-mah-mah-mah" with a sad little pout and it breaks my heart), and she even said "Cheese" pretty clearly one time.  I'm sure there are others that I'm forgetting.  Sometimes she can repeat "Nananana" when we say "Banana," but that one isn't consistent yet.

And as I was in the process of writing this post during Sophie's 2-4 PM nap, she woke up crying, and when we went up to check on her, she had puked all over herself.  So much for being beyond the teething/sickly phase.  Poor baby.  She ended up throwing up 7 or 8 times tonight.  We called the pediatrician and they advised us to give her only 1 oz of water or Pedialyte every 30 minutes, and not to feed her any food for the rest of the evening, because her tummy needed to rest.  That seemed to work, and she's asleep now for bedtime.

Poor baby.

And now, having said that, I will awkwardly segway into telling you that I made soup this afternoon. (I don't think that was the cause of the later issue, at least, I'm hoping it wasn't....)

White Bean Soup With Sausage and Kale:


I've made this soup before and even blogged about it previously.  The recipe is pretty easy, so I'll see if I can just approximate it for you without violating any copyrights.


The ingredients are:  Mild Italian Sausage, chopped onion, minced garlic, a can of drained cannellini beans, a can of diced tomatoes with oregano, basil, and garlic, and two cans of chicken broth.


You cook the sausage in a separate skillet until browned, then set aside.  The chopped onion and minced garlic go into your cast iron pot with some veg or olive oil until soft, then you add the drained beans, tomatoes and chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 5 min or so, then add the sausage and kale.


Stir and simmer for 3-5 minutes until the kale is wilted, and season to taste with ground black pepper.


Delicious and it freezes really well.  In my experience, you probably don't want to feed the cannellini beans to your toddler, though, apparently.