Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 years


Dallin is 3 years old! He seems so grown up recently, and he definitely did a lot of growing up in a year.

This is what Dallin was like when he turned 2:

Dallin's food source was entirely low-calcium milk from a bottle. He had a breakthrough just days before his 2nd birthday and finally started eating solid food consistently. It all started with a chocolate chip cookie at Grandma and Grandpa Crapo's. The funny thing is he doesn't really eat cookies or sweets now. He slowly added more and more solid foods to his diet over the year.

Crawling was his mode of transport. Having just started crawling 6 months before, he was really starting to get the hang of it. Sometimes you could get him to balance and stand on his own for 2-3 seconds, but walking wasn't achieved for another 3 months.

He did not say any words. He knew some basic signs like more, eat and milk, but unless he wanted food he couldn't really communicate his needs.

He still used a pacifier when sleeping. I must admit, I was hesitant to take it away because I thought it'd be hard for him (and we all like our sleep) but he gave it up pretty easily not long after turning 2.



Now, he's grown so much and doing so much more. He advanced from a crib to a toddler bed, and then to a full on twin size bed when Connor was born. He eats almost anything. Bottles are entirely gone (as is the milk) and he drinks water from a regular cup. He takes a medication for high blood pressure and we used to mix it in his milk. But now that he won't drink the milk anymore, he takes the medicine straight into his mouth... voluntarily!

He runs, jumps and climbs on everything. He understands and follows commands (when he wants to...). He loves puzzles, and is learning colors and numbers (when you say "One" he says "two!"). He will repeat what you tell him to say fairly well. He knows many words, including...

"Rocks!" 

He doesn't take naps anymore. This is mostly because his preschool is in the afternoon so we had to cut them out. I'm surprised by how well he does with no naps. Although, some days he feels like he needs one.

We love our wonderful Dallin. I amazed at how far he's come in 3 years.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Day of Preschool

 Dallin started preschool this week. His preschool is provided through the local school corporation for children that are developmentally delayed. He goes 3 days a week in the afternoon. Since he turns 3 soon, the therapists that have been working with him weekly will stop coming, and the therapists at the preschool will replace them.


He was really excited to wear his new backpack, even if he didn't know what was happening yet.
He gets to ride the bus to and from preschool. We waited outside for the bus to come.
 I had to take a picture of his "first day of school" shoes.
 And then Dallin wanted to take a picture of Connor.
 His bus pulled up and I helped him up on the bus. He went right over the the aide on the bus and she helped Dallin into his seat.
 He was kind of looking around, trying to figure out what was going on, but he didn't cry or anything when I said goodbye.

I waved to him and the bus drove away.
You can't really see him in this picture, but I could see his little face through the window, right above the 103.

I don't really know how his day went because he can't talk to tell me about it, but his teacher sent a note home saying he had a great day and that fit in really well like an old pro!

She emailed me a picture of him from class.
 
 It looks like he had fun.

When he got home off the bus he seemed tired.
Preschool is hard work.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cincinnati and St. Patty's

Last week was spring break for Purdue. Mckay still has to work and do research, he just got a break from his one class. We decided that we should still do something fun and take a short trip to Cincinnati. Why Cincinnati? We've never been there before, it's close (only a 3 hour drive) and hotels there were cheaper than in Chicago. We left Friday morning (well, it was actually noon by the time we left) and drove to straight to downtown Cincinnati. Dallin and Connor slept the whole way there.
 
Mckay found a walking tour of downtown Cincinnati online. So we parked the car, and walked a 3 mile loop. We saw some really cool old churches, neat architecture and gardens, and the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
 There's a pedestrian pathway along the bridge, so we walked across into Kentucky. (Now Dallin and Connor have been in 2 more states.)
 The road of the bridge is a metal grate and you can see down into the river as you drive across. I think that would scare me a little too much.
 We saw the Great American Ball Park from the bridge.
While walking around, we passed a little Art Gallery. They had canned food sculptures on display. This was my favorite one.
 
 That must take a lot of time and patience. 

We stopped at a little pastry shop and got some hot cross buns. They cost more than one a penny or two a penny.

After we were thoroughly tired from our 3 mile tour, we drove to our hotel on the north side of Cincinnati. Dallin thought our room was really cool because it had a phone...
 ...and 2 TVs.

 We ate dinner at a nearby Mexican Restaurant. Dallin officially embarrassed us by eating the salsa straight out of the bowl with his hand.
 He holds a chip in his other hand like he's going to dip it, but he's not fooling anyone.

We got Graeter's Ice Cream for dessert. A friend recommended it as a CIncinnati must-have and it was pretty tasty. I had Black Raspberry Chip ice cream. I forgot to take a picture until it was mostly gone.
 Also, not pictured was the huge chocolate chunk in my scoop. We're talking solid chocolate larger than a whole Oreo cookie.

Mckay enjoyed his Toffee chip ice cream scoop.
 The next day was St. Patrick's Day. We went to the Cincinnati Children's Museum and the Museum of Natural History and Science.

Dallin had a 'ball.'
 He went from one thing to the next, playing with everything.
 For future reference, it's not a good idea to go to a crowded place with lots of kids on St. Patrick's Day. Everyone is wearing green and it's hard to pick your own child out of a crowd.

There were blocks to make an arch.
 
 (The only picture I'm in and proof that I was there too.)

Dallin wasn't much help while building the arch, but he knew how to knock it over.

 We went outside for a little picnic lunch in the grass.

Over at the Natural history Museum, we walked through a "cave."
 

 
This picture makes me laugh. Mckay spent a long time playing with this display. It's supposed to show how melting glaciers eroded the landscape to create the shape of the land on which Cincinnati now sits. As he was playing with the sand, a group of kids came over, and Mckay started teaching them about it and showing them how cool it was. They listened for a bit and walked away. But a minute later, one kid came back over and asked Mckay where the bathroom was. I'm sure he saw Mckay wearing a white polo shirt, teaching at an exhibit, and figured he must work there!

Around this point, Dallin was starting to get tired of walking.

So we drove back to Indiana and got home around 8pm.

We saved our traditional Corned Beef feast for Sunday. Connor sported Dallin's old festive shirt.
I realized this shirt has been worn for the past 3 St. Patrick's Days. I'm hoping that it won't fit any of my children next year.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Piano Lessons


I've started teaching piano lessons. I always had it in the back of my mind that I would teach lessons someday to earn a little extra money. I figured it would be years from now though because my kids are still very young. But a few months ago, my friend asked me if I would teach her son. And I realized that I could! I have a piano and space in my house for lessons. People teach piano lessons with young kids all the time, and mine are fairly well behaved. So I said yes. And now I'm a piano teacher.

I'm taking it easy and starting out kind of slow. I have 3 students and it seems like a good amount for now. I'm pretty busy with the rest of my life, so I don't want to get too booked up with lessons. But I'm really enjoying it. It's fun to get back to the basics of music. It reminds me of how much I loved taking lessons as a kid. And it's nice to have something that I do for myself, with out my kids being involved. (Although, I'm often holding one of them on my lap while teaching.)

Dallin likes that people are coming over to our house, even if they're not coming to see him. He likes to watch during lessons, and after the students leave, he hops up on the bench and starts playing.
He has pretty good form and he's very gentle on the keys. He plays very deliberately, one note at a time, all ten fingers on the keys. I think he watches how the students act and hold their hands during lessons and then mimics that. It's pretty cute.

Since I teach all my students on Tuesday afternoon/evening, it doesn't leave me much time to make dinner, and by the time the last lesson is over, we're pretty hungry. So I've made Tuesday night my Crockpot/freezer meal day. Last night we had Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala.
I've haven't made a lot of Indian food before or thought to make it in the crockpot, but this stuff was delicious! The spices were amazing, the chicken was so tender, and it's a pretty economical meal. I'd recommend it. The naan was purchased pre-made from a store. The perks of living in a college town with lots of international students: international food stores!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1/4-1 tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

6-8 chicken thighs (skin on, bone-in)

Stir all ingredients except chicken into the bottom of a large plastic container. Add the chicken and coat the chicken completely with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

Masala:
1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes
1 can 5.5 oz tomato paste
2 inches fresh ginger, grated (store your ginger in the freezer and it will be super easy to grate)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp tikka paste (could use mild curry paste instead, but then also add about a tbsp of lemon juice)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried coriander


1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt
1 cup cream
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped


Turn your oven to broil. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack over top. Take the chicken out of the marinade (discard the marinade) and place on the baking rack. Place under the broiler about 6-10 inches from the heating element and broil on each side about 10 minutes. You could also do this on the BBQ.  You don't have to worry about cooking the meat all the way through, you are just looking for a nice browned color.

While the chicken is broiling, in a pan over medium high heat, add about a tsp or two of oil. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a few more minutes until the mixture is nice and fragrant. Place the mixture into your crockpot. To that, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garam masala, tikka paste, cumin, chili powder and coriander. Stir together. When the chicken is done broiling, add them straight to the slow cooker and stir into the masala (sauce). I have cooked and experimented with this dish quite a few times, and it by far tastes the best when the chicken is first broiled and then slow cooks in the masala sauce. It gives the sauce a real richness of flavor. Slow cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.

Before serving stir in 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt if it needs it. I find this just brightens up the spice flavors a bit. Then stir in the cream and fresh cilantro. Serve a chicken thigh and lots of sauce over basmati rice or Yellow Basmati Rice: 2 cups basmati, 4 cups water, salt, and 1/2 tbsp of turmeric. Stir together and prepare as you normally would. When the rice is done, stir in 1/2 cup frozen peas.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Good Day


Do you ever have days when things go right? When everyone is happy and things work the way they're supposed to? I frequently have days where a few things go right. I have even more days when things fail miserably. But once in a blue moon, a day comes along and everything goes well. I had such a day on Sunday.

Despite Daylight Saving time, we managed to get out the door and to church on time. This is hard for us when we DON'T lose an hour of sleep, so I was proud of us. Connor slept during church (which is becoming a rare thing) and woke up at just the perfect time so that I could feed him before playing the piano for choir practice. Because Connor was sleeping, I was actually able to listen at church and learn (which is also becoming a rare thing).

My hair looked good. I got my hair cut about a month ago and I've been enjoying the shorter length and playing around with styles. (This post has a picture that shows you how long it was before I cut it.)
This is after just blow drying it. I did use the straightener a little bit on some funky parts after the picture.

I tried a new recipe for dinner: Eggplant Parmesan. New recipes can be risky, especially if you're going of off a picture, because a good photographer and Photoshop can make anything look tasty these days. And it was a gamble for me to serve a dinner with a vegetable as the main dish to the boys in my family. An uncommon vegetable at that.

That Eggplant Parmesan was sooo delicious. Everyone loved it. Connor was asleep during dinner. As much as I love Connor and love having that sweet baby in our family, it was nice to be able to relax and eat the dinner I'd just spent hours making without trying to hold or feed a baby at the same time. Dallin loved the food and ate as much as Mckay and I did. He fearlessly ate that eggplant like he thought it was chicken (he probably thought is was chicken).
That's another thing that went beautifully right. Dallin ate all his dinner! With a fork! And he didn't throw any of it. He's been more willing to try new foods recently and his appetite has definitely grown!

After dinner, Mckay did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. And I got to relax. It was a great day.

And I got a good video of Dallin and Connor interacting. (OK, so I took this video today instead of yesterday, but good things can happen two days in a row, right?) I can never seem to get a good video of them. Either Dallin will become more interested in the camera than Connor, or they won't perform" properly, but this video is pretty good.
video
I love how Connor tries to grab Dallin's face. And that Dallin mimics Connor. And I love how they make each other laugh.

I did NOT love that seconds after I took this video, I picked Connor up to find a diaper blowout all up his back. Good thing I was planning to do laundry today anyway.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lonely Weekend

Mckay has been gone for most of the past 2 days. The Chemical Engineering department at Purdue is hosting prospective grad students this weekend. Mckay volunteered to help with the events and drive the guests around town. There are mixers and things going on until midnight each night, so the kids and I have pretty much been on our own at home. (Mckay did come home to sleep for a bit last night.)

We've been trying to keep busy so we don't miss Mckay too much. Dallin has been helping me with things.

He helped me make a Frittata for dinner last night.

I asked him to smile and this is the face I got.

I made homemade yogurt. Here it is wrapped in towels incubating in the oven.



It was a fascinating experience and it turned out pretty tasty.
Connor has been getting lots of tummy time and he's become quite chatty.
video
That would be Dallin's finger on the lens at the end.

Connor also played the piano with me.
It amazes me that this boy still will not roll over, but he will practically sit up all by himself to reach the piano keys.

Dallin helped me wash the sheets and put the pillow cases back on the pillows.
Well, he tried to.I got a lot done around the house this weekend, but I think we'd all rather have Mckay home to spend the weekend with.