I started this month with some good intentions for cooking at home! We’ve had a couple of Costco trips recently and always feel like we spend too much money there, and this last time I wanted to be sure to use all the food we bought. And I want us to eat more healthy food. So for a couple of nights, I tried to use up spinach and berries by steaming the spinach and putting it on top of quinoa with berries and almonds, then adding olive oil and salt and pepper. It was really good!
For Ari, I’ve been trying to get him to eat more by separating the foods on his plate, because he often won’t touch a bowl of different things mixed together. One night, I did get him to eat some spinach and quinoa by bribing him with more berries. (We’re not supposed to do that! But it drives me crazy that he won’t eat anything but berries!) The next night, even that tactic wouldn’t work. I guess that should be a lesson to me…
We had too many bell peppers (from Costco) to use them all before they spoiled so one day while Ari was at school, I chopped them all up and spread them out on baking sheets and set them flat in the freezer for 30 minutes, then put them into glass containers and freezer bags to use later.
It’s worked out well! It’s easy to pull a bag out of the freezer and throw some extra vegetables into whatever we’re making.
I also did some advance prep of onions (we got a giant bag of them!) and tofu (but I didn’t freeze the tofu; just put it in the fridge and tried to use it over the next week).
The past few days it has (finally!) cooled off and rained a little. Now it feels like our hot days in August may have been our last for this year.
Fortunately we fit in an afternoon with a few friends at the Jamison Square fountain downtown! I love the way the pool area fills up deep enough for the little kids to lie down and really soak and splash in the water, but Ari is afraid of the waterfalls. At one point he walked off to the other side of the park and when I caught up with him, he said, “I want to go home!”
Here one of his friends is coaxing him toward a waterfall:
We had lots of visits with family, too. My sister and niece came up from California and spent a few days with us. We had tons of fun going out to our favorite restaurants, riding bikes, “hiking” in Forest Park, and playing games in the evenings. (Then A.’s brother came to Portland for a couple of days with a friend and we got to have another game night!)
Here is Ari chowing down at breakfast one morning:
He has also been singing songs and strumming his new little guitar from my aunt:
We got together with my mom’s side of the family in Olympia and Ari played in this pool:
I don’t usually put photos of other people on here, but these with my grandma are so cute:
And Ari trying out lawn games:
Between family visits, we did one of Ari’s favorite activities – story and singing time at the library. We used to go to the baby sessions, then the tiny tots, and now we go to the toddler time. After sitting on my lap clutching a book and watching everyone for a few weeks, Ari now runs in, sits right in front of the librarian, then stares at her and copies her every move (and many of her words and sounds) until it’s over, then he runs for the children’s book section.
I don’t have a good editing system for covering people’s faces, so I used these creepy white ovals to try to protect people’s privacy by hiding faces and name tags…
Ari had an eye appointment that resulted in a glasses prescription, so he now has a pair of glasses! He doesn’t love them, but sometimes he’ll wear them for a few hours at a time. We try to remove them as soon as he says he wants them off, so that we don’t end up battling over them.
Isn’t he cute?
Ari’s school is currently closed for a little over a week so A.’s mom came for a few days to watch Ari, then my parents came for a few days.
A.’s mom took this photo:
Here is a photo of A. and Ari at an end-of-summer concert we went to with some friends, on a beautiful organic farm.
I want to say something here about varieties of guilt as a parent (and in general as a human being, but I think it’s gotten worse for me as a mom).
I’m always feeling ashamed around other moms for one reason or another, usually having to do with food. If I pull out something pre-packaged or overly starchy and gluten-ous, invariably the other moms around me are offering sliced raw vegetables and fruits that look beautiful and that their kids are actually eating. Or the other mom is offering not-so-healthy snacks but I didn’t bring anything for Ari because I’m terrible. Then we went out recently with friends and the other mom there had packaged foods and then I was embarrassed having to pull out my pretentious reusable metal container with cheese and crackers, homemade granola bars (one day I got time for that! I don’t usually make my own granola bars!!), and sliced carrots (organic, of course!). As soon as I had the opportunity to berate myself for being late to the event because I was slicing carrots, I took it! Then my friend without kids laughed and said she was late because of a TV show she was watching, and I remembered that having kids is actually pretty hard work. Really – we should all be proud of ourselves. And sometimes (usually not, but sometimes) I’m the one prepared with extra wipes or socks or snacks to help another mom out, and sometimes another mom offers me those things, and that’s okay, right?
Okay, back to Ari!
The main thing we hear and notice about Ari these days is how “verbal” he is. He strings together some long sentences! And can express himself very precisely.
Some of his sentences that I’ve made notes of during the past few weeks are:
“This big elephant is picking leaves to eat” (looking at his book about elephants)
“I want more cream cheese on the bagel”
“Let’s take a picture of Ari reading the cheetah book”
“I want to go downstairs and see what Andrew’s doing”
I don’t write it all down but he’ll have long instructions like, “Let’s go in the living room and read the cheetah book on the couch.”
Recently he’s always saying that he’s “busy,” which is probably because I’ve said that too much! He’ll say, “No, I want to go home because I’m busy” or “I need to wake up because I’m busy!”
He can now tell me if he’s too warm or too cold, which is helpful with our changing weather!
On August 29th (yes I wrote it down!) we were walking to Hawthorne Street and he said, “I love you Mommy” for the first time. 🙂
He’s a great kid, really. Our most frustrating experiences have to do with his unwillingness to eat healthy foods I make and with his need for independence – probably very normal frustrations with a 2-year-old! In one morning with him (today, for example!) he’ll go from happy and chattering pleasantly to sobbing hysterically probably 20 times in the span of a few hours, because as soon as he wakes up he wants “yellow cheese” and apparently something is wrong with the piece of yellow cheese I’m offering him, then I wouldn’t let him eat the piece that fell on the floor. Then he’ll cry because I didn’t let him climb up on his stool by himself to wash his hands, and because he doesn’t want to wear any of his shoes, and then he wants a “BIG tomato!” from the bush but not the big tomato I picked for him (that always happens when we’ve finally made it out the front door and are on our way to the car). Then he’ll want to close the gate himself, then he has to climb into the car and into his seat by himself (lots of tears if we’re in a hurry and I pick him up). Then during the drive he wants whichever book is just out of reach in the backseat, and sobs about that tragedy until well after we’ve left the car, and then just as he’s recovered from that one and we’ve finished our first errand, I make the mistake of picking him up to cross the parking lot and he totally loses it because “I want to cross the street!” Then we have several more episodes as we finish running errands, then we get home and it’s back to the big tomatoes, and we finally get inside and it’s back to the yellow cheese before he’ll take his nap. The day can be a real emotional roller coaster! But in between the breakdowns he’s adorable. 🙂