Archive for the ‘Toddler’ Category

Whenever I tell people I put sauerkraut in my salads, I get strange looks.  So here’s the recipe I threw together the other day that was particularly delicious:

-half a cucumber, diced.

-half cup black beans, heated.

-half cup homemade raw sauerkraut

-1/4 an avocado

-tablespoon nutritional yeast

-few shakes garlic powder or cayenne

That’s it!

I’m home alone tonight with Nathan at a guys’ weekend and Jane at Oma’s.  It’s nice but I’m looking forward to having them back.  Jane has been so hilarious lately and so fun to do stuff with.  She’s just getting so big and able to carry on conversations and even tell jokes!  She started imitating my sister (and I guess sometimes me)  who always says “wasssup girlfriennnnd?”

We were getting ready to leave yesterday and I said I needed to pack the chickpeas and a couple minutes later when she was helping me pack she said “Got your chickpeas, girlfriennnnd?”  I told her to say it again for the camera:


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It’s only Friday night writing this and even looking back at notes I can barely remember what I did yesterday.  The last couple days have been good, but busy!

Thursday a.m. after our usual wake up, nurse in bed routine, I’m woken up for real by Jane bringing me a jar of popcorn kernels.  “Let’s make popcorn Mama!  I want to push the button!  I want to PUSH the button!  I want to push the BUTTON!”  Everything is dramatic with this girl.

G-Non found her a Hello Kitty air popper at the thrift store so we make some popcorn while I’m still half asleep:


Nathan hugs me as he gets ready to leave and Jane says “Let’s all hug together!”  Don’t know where she gets this – neither of us have ever initiated a group hug in our rushed/tired states, but sweet anyway:  001

8:45:  Baby V arrives, she is just sitting in her chair across the room from me, eating some puffs and babbling, but Jane is screaming “NO That MY Mama!” as if they are in some sort of intense argument.  I am so happy I didn’t have another baby right away.

9:30:  Baby V naps, 10:00 I let Jane watch Sesame Street, who knows where the time goes, but by 11:30 we are all outside.  It’s amazing how good 45 degrees feels.  It’s a stereotype that all Minnesotans talk about the weather all the time, but seriously….  we have not seen nice weather for 6 months.  Everyone here is on the edge of their seats waiting for this weekend’s 70 degrees.  There is still snow on the ground from the storm on Tuesday.

Jane pushing Baby V:


Then it was Jane’s turn to swing and she was babbling about going to get treats somewhere and I said “Oh Jane, you’re a treat” and she said “I not a treat, I a NUT!”.

Also, we were hanging out with Jane’s cousin last weekend who is 5 months older, and he was saying his full name, first and last.  It never occurred to me to teach her her last name, so I did, and she immediately reversed it and said “I am Johnson Jane!”.  Which is what she’s been saying for four days now.

At noon our friends stop by to play.  Pic of them hugging goodbye later on:


Jane naps at 1:45 and for the next two hours I…  clean, eat lunch, respond to e-mails, general administrative life stuff.  I make some food for the party tomorrow too, including this white bean dip which Jane loves:


When you have no dishwasher, the cleaning never ends.  Clean on the left, dirty on the right.  Imagine what it looked like when they were all dirty…


Our little kitchen:


We leave for a walk to the co-op about 5:00, it takes just over an hour to get there, buy a few things, and get back.  Jane in the bulk aisle saying “Mama, let’s get some nooch!” (nutritional yeast)  p.s. toddlers in the bulk aisle with scoops available right at their height = nightmare.


6:15:  We get home, Daddy is home and helps me clean off the front porch:


We enjoy the weather and swing some more:


Nathan goes to the gym, I get Jane to bed about 8:30 and spend the next few hours getting food ready for tomorrow.  Planning a dinner always takes a lot longer than I think it will.  In bed by midnight  and really ready to sleep.

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Mondays are the only day we have off “work” (we watch another baby at our house 4 mornings a week), and today was pretty much my dream stay at home mom day.

Jane slept through the night (which she does… 70% of the time?) and didn’t wake up until after 7:00.  We lay in bed and nurse and watch cartoons (well, I doze) until 8:30.

8:30 – 10:30, get ready to go to Nonni’s house.  My mom works part time and sometimes when she’s off Mondays we go there so Jane can nap and I can go to yoga.  So two hours for…  breakfast and general getting ready, and it is just enough time for me to not feel rushed.  I am very slow in the mornings.

11:00:  At Nonni’s!


We hang out for awhile and I take off for my noon yoga class.  Return about 1.5 hours later when I get the all clear text that Jane is sleeping.

Jane takes an almost 3 hour nap (very unusual) and I shower, help my mom rearrange some furniture and takes pics for sale on craigslist, make lunch, play on the internet, and watch HGTV.  We don’t have cable and it’s my favorite cable indulgence when away from home.  Except I’m peeved that it’s continuous episodes of “Love it or List it” and I dislike the show for the sole reason that they do not name the city the people are living in.

We’re getting ready to leave and my mom is being silly pretending to put Jane’s hat on her head and saying “my hat” and Jane flips out in a sudden toddler tantrum because it is HER HAT.  She is so dramatic clinging to me and won’t even look at my mom because obviously she just wronged her in the worst way…

My mom and I cannot stop laughing at this display which only makes Jane cry harder.  We finally pacify her with a snack bag full of sun chips for the ride home and then she’s cheerful the whole way.

We get home shortly before 6:00 and I reheat some food (quinoa, broccoli, tofurkey italian sausage) but Jane says “don’t eat Mama!”  She lays a dish towel on the floor and says “I made a bed for you!”  and pulls my hand until I come lay down.  I grab the camera and then she puts another dish rag on top to tuck me in:


Daddy gets home, we play, Jane goes to bed at 8:00.  We crack a Maibock:


Because May is only 8 days away, can’t you tell?


Now it’s 9:30 and I’m writing this post and Nathan is cooking black bean soup in his new pressure cooker (birthday gift from G-Non) and we will read a little (Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C. G. Jung for Nathan and Just Kids by Patti Smith for me)  and hopefully get some good sleep.

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I’m getting a head start on my “week in the life” because I think my camera battery may have died on me for good yesterday.  And no I don’t have an iPhone.

This weekend was better than most in the recent past.  This winter has been sort of shit.  First there was the holidays, the first without my Dad.  Then there was the general misery of Jan. and Feb. in MN, with the exception of a wonderful trip to visit my grandma in FL.

When March finally came, with the possibility (that did not end up happening) of nicer weather, Nathan had surgery to reconstruct his torn ACL, and the recovery was a lot harder than either of us expected.

So he is finally feeling better and despite having record snowfall and Feb.-like weather this April, we managed to have a fun time for his birthday.

Friday I surprised him by getting a sitter (through my awesome neighborhood co-op) when he got home from work and we went out to Dangerous Man Brewery.  It’s one of the new microbreweries to open in our neighborhood and especially awesome because they encourage you to bring your own food.

I made this AMAZING Artichoke Spinach Dip with a few tweaks – I just chopped canned artichokes and added them at the end for more texture, and added a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast and a few shakes of onion powder.

So we show up at the taproom and the place is just busy enough that every table and barstool is taken.  We’re standing there awkwardly holding our food, wondering where to set it down while we get a beer, and this young guy comes over and says “you can have our table, we are only drinking and don’t need to sit down”.  Such a random act of kindness!  We refused taking their table, but offered to share our food if we could set it down there and ended up having a great time talking to them.

A video of us singing happy birthday to Daddy.

Saturday morning we let Daddy sleep in and took off to deliver our Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupckes to the local Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.


Feeding cupcakes to the duck:


Bake Sale

Then after naptime we went to Nathan’s parents’ house for a belated Easter since they were in FL all of March.  Jane has 4 cousins on that side and Oma always arranges fun games and an egg hunt for them.

Fishy Game:

fishy gamefishy game 2

Feeding Mama Jelly Beans – repeating what I told her a minute before “chew them realllly good mama!”:


Nathan opening his b-day present from his parents, a seed starter kit – I can’t WAIT to have veggies and herbs growing right outside my kitchen door again!  (And isn’t it great when your spouse gets gifts that you love too?)

Seed Starter

After the family party we left Jane there to be put to bed and we went to a dinner party at a nearby friend’s house.  He’d just returned from a trip to Colorado and made a Mexican feast with special chilies you can only buy locally there, and then arranged an extensive IPA tasting with some beers you can only buy in CO.

It was great to catch up with them, we got home around midnight and I immediately crashed.


My day to sleep in!  Nathan took Jane on a morning outing to Target and the pet store because she loves to look at the animals.  He admitted to almost buying her a fish and I was thankful he didn’t.

Then Nathan went to the gym, I got Jane down for her nap and lazed around drinking tea and reading the paper.

Nathan came home, I went to yoga, came home and showered, Nathan went to play poker with some friends and I had a girlfriend over for awhile after Jane went to bed.

A typical weekend for us of relaxing and switching off parenting duties, but with a bit more socialization than has been going on lately, which I really needed.

Some random pics…

Her “sad face”:


Trying to use the potty…  no success yet:


My big girl….she can do this 16 piece puzzle all by herself!:


And onto the next week, we have a winter storm warning for Monday but should be near 70 by next Saturday!

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Oh, what to say about Jane at 2 years old?  What a personality.  I guess she’s the typical totally frustrating/hilarious toddler.  Lately when I laugh out loud at things she does, she starts to cry though.  Sensitive girl.

I can’t believe what a big girl my baby is.  In the past month she’s definitely entered the “Let ME do it, I want do it MYSELF” phase.  She can (almost) count to 20, identify (almost) all of her letters, and sing the alphabet and other songs in their entirety.

"Helping" make the cake.

“Helping” make the cake.

She loves to tell people what to do, complete with finger pointing.  The other day we were sitting on the couch and the 10 mo. old we watch woke up from her nap and Jane told me “I go open the door Mama, you stay right there Mama, you stay RIGHT THERE!” (pointing finger sternly).

She’s learned the art of toddler negotiation too.  Whenever I tell her no, she says “just a little bit mama” or “I just pretend mama”.

It still surprises me when she can remember things from weeks ago, because I know she won’t remember today in a couple years.  She is still talking about our trip to FL a month ago and how she said “don’t get me, ocean!” and tried to hug the birdies.


We had her birthday party today at a neighborhood rec center, because our house is too small to fit everyone.  She talked about it for a week in advance.  “I gonna be two!  Gonna be my happy birphday!  Gonna have cake and blow out the candles!”

I was really excited to have all our family and close friends with the kids together, but it was overwhelming at the same time.  I’m not used to this kind of party.  We hardly got any pics, my dad used to be in charge of that.  I was too busy to feel sad though, and it helped that we weren’t at my family’s house.

So now I’m just drinking some wine, reminiscing, looking forward to March, which might mean a whole new season, or maybe just more snow…

Either way, gotta say life with a two year old is pretty good right now.  Happy Birthday baby girl.

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I feel like with a kid life changes so fast – your daily routine will be different in just a few months, and never repeat again.  So I wanted to get down a few notes about how our lives are going this winter.

We’ve been watching another baby since July, all day Tuesdays and Wed., Thurs. Fri. mornings until 1 p.m.  She’s 7 mos. old now and it’s working out really well – their family lives just a few blocks away and her mom works from home so the schedule is really flexible.

I was worried about what we’d do now that it’s cold spending so much time inside (because I can’t drive anywhere with both babies) but the days have a way of filling up.  There are plenty of friends to come over a couple days out of the week, and my grandma (Jane’s “g-non”) comes over every Wed.  It’s definitely a highlight of our week, she brings us coffee from Caribou (by us I am also including Jane – she actually likes cold black coffee – Nana let her have a sip once, thinking she’d leave it alone after that, but she always wants more.  Nana says she is a “good little Swede”  =)  and usually some fruit or toys from the thrift store too.

Some days Jane drives me crazy with all her whining and constant talking and I think wow I NEED to get a job outside the house and get this kid in pre-school.  But then I realize, again, that lucrative part time jobs are hard to come by when you factor in child care costs.  And even if I found one that was worth it financially, I would hate hate hate having to get somewhere in the morning and probably work in an office and have to be nice to people I don’t really like.  When I think about that I really appreciate the arrangement I’ve got.

It’s pretty awesome that we’re done watching the baby at 1 p.m. because that’s when Jane naps so I get a break right away.  She held on to the 2nd nap well past 18 mos., but it slowly disappeared and after some struggle she’s settled into a reliable 1 hr. 15 min. afternoon nap, but sometimes up to 2 hrs.!

When she wakes up we usually go to the gym.  I’m not a big fan of the gym, but don’t know what I’d do without it in the winter.  The kid’s club is only $10/mo. on top of my $32/mo. membership and Jane loves going there.  And I’ve realized if I make sure to take the classes and not get stuck on the treadmill watching Fox News or Desperate Housewives, I can actually enjoy the gym too.

We get home around 6:00, right when Daddy gets home, Jane eats dinner and goes to bed at 7:00 now that it gets dark so early.  She was going to bed 8:00 or later in the summer.

Ok onto some of the cute stuff she does at this stage.  She talks nonstop (can be funny or annoying!)  narrating everything going on.  A recent morning “Daddy in da bathroom!  Daddy flush dat poop!  Daddy wash da hands!  Daddy dry da hair! ….  (turning to the fridge where we colored the turkey out of the t-day paper)  Mama coleed dat chicken orange!  I want da nummy PLEASE MAMA!  I want dat apple sauce!  Apple sauce! (repeated a few dozen times).

When I make her oatmeal and we sit down to eat she likes to list all of the things that went in the oatmeal.  “Flac (flax) IN, applesauce IN, milk IN, alm butt (almond butter) IN”  And lots of times she will thank me for the food too.  “Tee To Mama!”

She absolutely loves smoothies too.  Lots of times I’ll make a smoothie for myself while she’s taking her nap and save some for her.  When she wakes up (always suuuuuuuuuper cranky wake up!)  I’ll rock her on my lap for a minute and then say “Guess what Mama made while you were sleeping?”  ….  “smooovie?”  and she runs for the kitchen.

Don’t mess with my smoothie!

When I come around to open her car door I always laugh when she says “OPEN!”.  And I always try not to laugh when I go to brush her teeth and she looks at me defiantly and says “CLOSE!”  and closes her mouth…

The past couple weeks she has been obsessed with the moon too.  I don’t think either one of us has ever pointed out the actual moon to her, she must remember it from Goodnight Moon.  She says, SO excitedly, “I found da moon!!” when she sees it out of the car window.  And when we turn away, “bye bye moon!”.

So that is life right now.  I’m always thinking about future possibilities….  pre-school, a different job for Nathan, a side job for me (I’ve always thought about becoming a health coach…) timing of a 2nd child, a different house?  But things are pretty good how they are.



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The Duck

So Jane has been obsessed for months with this duck video we showed her on YouTube.  It’s a three minute sort of annoying but sort of funny and catchy cartoon called The Duck Song.

She always points at the computer and says “Quack quack?” to ask for it.  Except when she says “quack” it sounds like “cock”.

I was at the park with a friend telling her how disturbing/funny we think it is that Jane is always pointing at the comptuer saying “Cock?  I want cock!!”

My friend dug around in her gigantic mom-bag and said “oh we just got some rubber ducks at this event last weekend”.  She pulled out one yellow and one black duck.  “Here’s a big black one for her”. (snicker, snicker…)

Jane immediately grabbed the duckie and in her very loud and enthusiastic toddler voice said “Ohhhhhh Biiiiiig COCK!”.

(two moms laughing hysterically)

“Ummm yes Jane that’s a big duck.  Can you say… duck?”

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My birthday is this week and I’m trying to look forward to it, I always love birthdays.

But mostly what I think about is that I won’t get a phone call from my Dad this year.

Won’t hear him yell excitedly into the phone “Hey girl, how ya feelin, whooooo Happy Birthday!”

Won’t get to drink a brandy and coke with him, won’t ever have my 500 partner back.

I sort of just want this week to be over.

It’s easier to cope when keeping busy with regular life, we’re now watching a 4 mo. old ~25 hrs. a week too.  And much easier to be happy when your toddler is in the cutest stage ever:

She’s suddenly started talking in sentences the past week too.  One day I was impressed that she said two words together “shoe on” and then a few days later she was saying “I go outside get the balls!”  “I want get down mama!”  Craziness.

Haha just realized I started writing this post crying my eyes out and am smiling now, so thankful for my baby girl.

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Jane: Going on 16 Months…

First off, thank you to everyone who left such nice comments when I wrote about my Dad’s passing.  I’m not that active in the blogger world, but there are a handful of you who I truly do feel a connection with and enjoy reading about your lives, and every extra bit of support helps right now.

And onto happier things – Jane will be 16 months old next week, and it’s really the best time ever.  When she was younger, up until around 10 months maybe (or whenever she started FINALLY napping regularly), I felt like I was always eager to get to the next stage.  But now I pretty much like things how they are.

Sleep is going well, for awhile she was sleeping straight through the night (11 hours) but that meant waking up at 6 a.m., which I definitely didn’t like.  For the past few weeks she’s been waking about 5 a.m. to nurse and then sleeping until past 7, which I much prefer.

Still taking two naps a day, don’t mind that either because it usually means mama gets to take a little morning nap too.

The best things right now are the affection and the sense of humor.

Every morning all three of us lay in bed slowly waking up, and when she’s done nursing she pops awake and gives each of us multiple kisses and is just the happiest girl in the world.  And we didn’t teach her this, it’s like her own routine to make sure each of us gets a few kisses and hugs.  She randomly kisses pictures of people and animals in books and also if another baby is crying she’ll go put her arms around them.

She makes me laugh so many times a day, with random “peek” games and putting things on her head, her enthusiasm in running towards the stroller when I say we’re going for a walk, or just making me smile every time we hear a bus go by on our busy street and she says “buh!”.  Or walking down a street full of cars and she says pointing at a single one like it’s the most astounding thing “car!”.  She will also totally burst out laughing if she hears us laughing.

She still talks her baby jibberish too, which is loud and forceful and sounds like some sort of foreign language.  I finally got a video of it, where she’s standing on the toilet and waving her hands around like a dictator or crazy professor:

As far as other words, tonight I made a list of them, as the fabulous Twisted Susan suggested I do many months ago.

For more my own records than your entertainment, here is Jane’s current vocabulary off the top of my head, including animal noises:

Rar, meow meow, woof, ooo oo ahh (monkey, complete with chest pounding), quack quack, mama, dada, nana, oma, papa, bath, ball, car, bus, banana, good girl, no, all done, beep, hi, buh bye, baby, uh-oh, ohhh yeah!, oh jeez, shoe, up, down, on, off, kitty, nite nite, hot, thank you (sounds more like “tee tee”), bottle (“ba ba”), bug, hat, hair, eye, mmm num num, water, clock, tick tock, book, wee wee (as in the end of “this little piggy”), “weeee” as in going down the slide, and of course “wassat?” (what’s that?).

A few pics of my sweet baby, my big girl:

Her 15 (1/2) month checkup stats:

Love you Janey!!



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This post is mostly an excuse to share a pic of my adorable lil’ nakie fatty wearing my earmuffs:

But seriously, she has learned how to climb.  Onto that bench she is standing on, and then onto the table.  And since it’s a built in bench, ummm, not much we can do.  Move the table?  We live most of our lives in this space and the table came with the house, no idea how they even got it in the tiny kitchen doorway/hall.

And UGH I keep everything important on that table, and now she can reach it!  And destroy it, and throw it all over the house!

Argh, toddlers.  But she redeems with her cuteness.



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