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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

From today

The days seem to be going by so quickly! Weeks are piling up and our sweet Millie Bea is almost 18 months old. It's all I can think about lately. My happy, loving, strong-minded girl growing up. That, and dreaming of what Santa may have in store for her this year.

To Millie, here are some things I want to remember from today...

*You love animals so, so much. Your specialty lately is saying "m-yow" when you spot a cat (real or in a book, on a sign, anywhere). One might be surprised just how many cat images there are around, unless they have a cat-loving toddler to point them out. Today you climbed onto the couch and "m-yow"ed at Shark over and over again, poking her on the back. I asked you what you were doing and you opened your hand to reveal a little kernel of corn. You shrugged and put your hands up as if to say "I don't understand why she doesn't want this." Together we got the bag of kitty treats instead, and you happily fed them to her one at a time. Later while I was loading the dishwasher, you fed Sneaky Pete his dinner all by yourself, scooping his food from the bin and pouring it into his dish. When you had trouble closing the latch on his food bin, you would just give him another scoop then try again! He had a lot of dinner ;)




















*Our art supply order arrived this week, and you have been joyfully arranging the paint bottles all over the house. This morning we decided to try finger painting. It was a mixed bag of fun and frustration, but I have some ideas about what to do differently next time!

*The weather was cold and gloomy this afternoon, so we baked brownies to warm things up. Each time you help in the kitchen I can see your concentration and will power building. You unwrapped the baking chocolate, spread butter in the dish, scooped flour, and mixed with the spatula. It wasn't until more than halfway through that you stuck your hand in and ate a fist full of batter! "Mmmm.. more! more!" you told me. Oh boy, we have so many days and years ahead to bake and cook together. I can hardly wait!

*When the oven is on you like to go near the door and feel the warmth, shaking your hand and blowing to show me it's hot. When I'm going to open the oven door, I say "The oven is hot. Everyone back up." You always keep a safe distance and help corral the animals out of the way. Today you were in a silly, chocolate-faced mood, and when I opened the oven door to put the brownies in you very dramatically moon-walked out of the room! It was quite hilarious. In fact, you didn't stop until you backed into a wall and then doubled over laughing.

We are definitely on the cusp of big-girlhood over here. Luckily, the sweet bunny humors the Mama by looking through her baby pictures every day. I say to her: "Excuse me Miss, do you want to see pictures of my beautiful baby?" We flip through the phone and she points, saying "Bay-beh". Today we reached 4,000 phone pictures.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Millie's World: Mid-Autumn



Autumn nature table; collection by Millie Bea
picnic lunching on every last warm day
a horse is a horse of course of course
picked from the yard
new word: "puh-puh" (pumpkin)
so much squirrel food to collect, so little time
(acorns at the playground)



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some firsts

A lot of "firsts" in the past two days. Some bigger than others, but all pretty special in this Mama's book.
Eeyore enjoys being hand-fed
green olives at lunch time
Discovering a new toy: blocks!

Rock climbing by the pond
16 months old, Millie's first time...

- Building a block tower: she took them out of the basket and started stacking them all by herself. I hadn't introduced them to her yet and she's never taken them out before. She had an amazing sense of calm as she fixed her tower each time it fell. I love to see that part of her... a nice compliment to her wild temper :)

- Climbing the rock wall at the pond and walking all the way across it (while Mama held her hand of course. Ok ok... while Mama gripped her forearm in a bear-like manner is more accurate). While she was up there a beautiful heron swooped over our heads and landed about 10 feet away!

- Running at full speed, in a straight path and around objects/walls

- Sleeping under a blanket on the bed (pictures of her new toddler room mini-makeover to come soon)

- Reading a book out loud. She has always flipped through pages by herself or asked about pictures in a questioning manner, but this was different. In one of our favorite books, "The Big Red Barn", there is a page with cats and dogs. She turned to the page and started doing exaggerated "meow, yow!"s and "woof woof"s, in a very funny deep voice, making the animals talk back and forth. It was quite hilarious.

I saved the best for last...
- Saying "TETA"!!! So exciting! This morning at breakfast I told her we might see Teta Annie soon. I thought she repeated "Teta", so I asked her "Did you just say 'Teta'?", and she whispered back... "Teta". So so sweet! When she was a baby she would whisper our names when she wasn't sure she was right. She then proceeded to look for said Teta, pointing out the window to a pear tree, opening the kitchen cupboard, and pulling aside the curtain at the front door to look on the porch, all while saying "Teta?"




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Apple Picking

This past Sunday we visited Fishkill Farms to pick some apples. We love it there and we're so happy that Millie loves it too.  They have a special Harvestfest going on through October with live music, so we were able to hit on just about all of her favorite things: walking around, eating outside, music, and dogs! We had a nice stroll down a row of trees until we found some with lots of apples. Brady handed Millie an apple and she was content to just roam around and eat it. A few times I asked her if she wanted to pick one off the tree to put in the bag and she very politely said "No...", shaking her head, then continuing to munch on her apple. She ate down to the core (see picture) and the only way we could stop her from eating the stem and seeds was to tell her it was time to throw it in the grass for the squirrels. She waved goodbye to it and we tossed it under a tree.



frolicking amongst the "tickle grass"

picnicking in Dada's lap
dancing/spinning with Mama to The Wanderer ("I'm going round and round and round!")

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mr. Toad's wild ride (almost)

(apple-picking photos will come tomorrow- hold your horses!)

For the last couple of weeks Millie has been very interested in plants and insects. This new discovery, combined with her love of collecting things, has launched our outdoor/nature time to the next level. We are very lucky that our playground (which is about 2 blocks from our house!) is nestled on the outskirts of Depew Park. The playground is surrounded by trees with a great hill to one side, and the pond is right across the road. We visit the playground just about every morning, which inevitably leads to climbing the hill, collecting bits of nature (then tossing them back when we need a free hand), and exploring the pond and grass.
Well, this morning we strolled into the playground just as the Parks Dept. guys pulled up in their truck. Millie had a nice time lounging in her stroller while eating some leftover leek and onion tart. We chatted with the guys and watched them take out a piece of equipment that needed to be fixed. Then Millie ran around a bit, went on the swing, climbed a rock. She walked back over to her stroller and started to pull it out onto the pathway (to push up and down the sidewalk).  You can imagine our surprise when we saw a tiny gray toad sitting on the stroller! Thank goodness we saw him, or I imagine he would have gotten smooshed one way or another.
We were so delighted we didn't know what to do! He was absolutely beautiful. He looked so delicate that I was afraid he would be hurt if he tried to jump down by himself onto the sidewalk.  Millie was thrilled. She kept bending down and pointing at him, straightening back up to look at me and gasp, then bending down to point again. I couldn't get too many pictures because I was trying to supervise the pointing and excitement :)
I tried to cup my hand around him to encourage him to step onto it, but every time I tried he tucked his little arms in and winced! I asked Millie to find a big leaf for him and she brought back a yellow tuliptree leaf. We offered it to him to climb onto, but he declined. Millie had a very strong reaction to all of this and actually began to cry when we couldn't get him onto the leaf. I hugged her and she sobbed into my shoulder for a minute. It was very moving. Next thing we knew he had jumped down and I was able to gently get him into my hand.  We climbed the hill and found a safe spot near a tree to let him go. When I opened my hand he walked onto my finger and didn't want to get down. I let him relax for a minute and Millie walked off to explore. I took a picture of the toad on my finger, then called to Millie. I told her I was going to let him go, so now was a good time to say goodbye if she wanted to. She came toddling back over, bent down towards my hand, and kissed the toad! He jumped down and headed towards the tree.
Millie and I walked back down the hill to our stroller. I think we were both feeling a little serene after our toad encounter, and we decided to walk the longer way home past the pond. She loves to walk by herself now and even pushes her own stroller down the road. We walked very slowly, stopping every two steps or so to pick up a leaf or watch an ant.








           






top: Tiny Mr. Toad

bottom: Hello in there! Anybody home?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Flamingos!

Here is the beauty at the zoo, enjoying her lunch next to the flamingos. Listen carefully...

video

You may also notice that she has created her own sign for "hot", and uses her fork like a big girl. Me oh my.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We're Back!

As you may have noticed, we've been on a little summer hiatus over here at the Bunny Corner. Not to worry, we didn't lose the bunny! We've just been having a relaxing summer with said bunny, who is now a full-fledged TODDLER, by the way.

I'm back today to share with you the most delicious meal you have ever heard of. Ok that might be a stretch, but I'm pretty thrilled that my Huevos Rancheros came out very similar to the ones at our favorite diner here in Peekskill. Millie Bea is ever the adventurous eater, so she and I are trying new recipes all the time. I dare say I'm getting pretty good at making delicious meals. We have turned into quite the old-fashioned type of family around here and I try to have dinner on the table when Brady gets in from work at 7. However, next week he starts classes again (twice a week) and we'll be adjusting Millie's day a little bit so she can eat earlier and get to bed earlier, both of which her body seems to need now.

We also have a weekly dinner rhythm which helps bring order and predictability to our days (for her and us!). Sticking to our daily and weekly rhythms is going to be very important as she grows and becomes more and more aware of the world around her. Our main goal is to help her feel secure and confident. We're having a lot of fun analyzing our options and making deliberate parenting choices... seriously, more fun than I imagine is normal. Along with resurrecting my knowledge from school (Erikson was my guy) and teaching (when I focused on Reggio Emilia), I have been gleaning insights from Steiner (Waldorf) and Montessori child development theories. It's all very fascinating!

Anyways, here is our weekly dinner rhythm, for anyone who is interested. We have a main "theme" for each day and make different recipes every week that fit the theme (examples of things we've had lately are in parentheses). This helps with planning and shopping. Theoretically it should help with budgeting, but that's a different issue.

Sunday ~ pasta + salad (speghetti and "meatballs" w/ homemade breadsticks)
Monday ~ breakfast for dinner (huevos rancheros, soy chorizo quiche)
Tuesday ~ wild card, doubled (spinach pie, asian stir-fry)
Wednesday ~ leftovers
Thursday ~ Mexican-ish (super nachos, burritos, etc)
Friday ~ pizza (pineapple/feta, peppers + onions, taco pizza!)
Saturday ~ soup +/or sandwiches (moz/tom/ homemade pesto)

We are so grateful that Millie Bea loves food. I can count on one hand the number of times she has refused something, ever. We are also lucky that she doesn't have any allergies or restrictions. She eats 3 full meals a day, at least 2-3 snacks, and nurses at least 3 times a day (more if she isn't feeling well for any reason).

Huevos Rancheros (3-4 servings)
In a skillet, heat:
- 2Tb. butter, when melted add:
- small handful of flour (about 1/8-1/4c)
- 2Tb. tomato paste
When combined, add:
- 10oz. organic plain tomato sauce (almost 2/3s of a 15oz. can)
- Italian seasoning, to taste (whatever you have, I only had oregano, basil and celery salt, but majoram and thyme would be good too)
- pinch of pepper
Cook on medium-low while you get the veggies ready.

In a separate skillet, heat some olive oil and add:
- 1 onion, cut into big slices
- 2 peppers, cut into big slices
(next time I'll add baby spinach, I guess here?)
When they have softened, add the sauce from the other skillet and cover. Simmer on low heat for about 20-30 min.

If you're sharing this with a baby, scoop out their portion about half way through cooking and set aside. Add:
- 2 jalapenos (I had 1 plus some jarred slices)
- a bunch of hot sauce (to taste)

Ok, sauce is done. At this point we let it sit in the skillet, covered, for an hour while we went to the riverfront to play and pick up Dada from the train. When you're ready to eat...
Per-person, cook 2 eggs over-easy. Top with a handful of cheddar at the end of cooking. Put the eggs on a plate and top with the sauce/veggie mixture. We make Millie's eggs scrambled (with cheese) just to be extra safe. Serve with home fries, sour cream, and toasted bread. Avocado would also be delicious. For our home fries we used red potatoes with garlic and onion. MB was devouring them right off the stovetop. Smart baby.

So I probably don't have a future in recipe-writing, but you seriously need to try this if you can follow it.
Here are some random pictures of the perfect bunny from the past few weeks:








Thursday, July 4, 2013

9/52

A portrait of Millie, once a week, every week, as a one year old.

Please Note: This is from last week.. tomorrow I am finally going to catch up and post the appropriate week (10)! We are 1/5 of the way to 2-years-old!!! Holy moly.



Farmer's Market, Gardening, and Zoo, OH MY!


Busy baby week around here. We've all been enjoying the Saturday morning farmer's market downtown. Millie helps put fruit and vegetables in the bags, pick out bread, and sample cheese.
We planted a sensory garden for her at the end of the patio. Her favorite plant was the dill (see above). She spent a very long time carrying it around, putting it on the chair then taking it off. Lately she loves to carry heavy objects, so the planting was just a perfect toddler activity. She also loves to push things with wheels, so below you can see her helping with the wheelbarrow.


Today Millie spent the day with her baby friends Adeline and Emma (all the Daddy's had the day off!). We all visited the Bronx Zoo in the morning, which was tons of fun. In the afternoon the girls played in Adeline's baby pool and sprinkler, and we grilled some tofu dogs and veggies. We had such a wonderful time!
In the photos below you can see Millie being a bumble bee and visiting the butterfly garden, standing with Mama by the giraffes, and playing with Dada in the Congo. Her favorite parts of the zoo were the ducks, sparrows, pushing her stroller around, and pointing to people's iphones when they took pictures. Please don't tell Daddy that we could have done all that for free in the park! Just kidding... we all had a really great time and we hope to go back soon. Millie was wonderful for the whole trip (as were her baby friends). We had a lovely picnic, saw tons of animals, and did lots of big girl walking. A very happy day :)