Saturday, April 28, 2007

More Cake!

Tonight we had some friend over for dinner and we celebrated Leda's birthday. Not the blow-out we had for her first birthday, but a fun time none-the-less.

This morning started off with me attempting to make a cake from scratch. I decided a yellow cake with creamy butter frosting. Should be easy enough, right? Brock decided we could "kick it up a notch" by throwing some blackberry sauce into the mix - a little "marbling" if you will. I probably should have told him to back off! ;-)

I made the cake, poured it into the pans and Brock mixed in the blackberries. I put the cakes in the oven and turned to clean up and make the icing, but not before I let Leda try a little cake batter off the mixing beater. She moved it around in her mouth for a second or two, thought about it and said, "Yum Mommy, More Cake!" I let her have a few more licks and then back to making the icing.

Leda helped by trying to get every last granule of powered sugar out of the bottom of the bowl after I had added it into the mixing bowl. I figured there was no way this child was going down for a nap now, so after I finished making the icing, I let her lick the spatula. I mean, what good is being a kid if you can't lick the spatula or the bowl? (Mommy got the bowl!)

Licking the icing spatula!

Once the cake cooled off, I began to assemble. The cakes got a little dome on them, so trying to figure out which one to put top side down was a little difficult. Both left a bit of a gap between the plate and the side of the cake. Brock suggested we use a little of the blackberry sauce in the middle between the two layers, and I thought the only way that the layers would stick to one another is if I put a little icing in there two. Bad move - should have left the blackberry sauce out of the mix altogether!

It squished out the sides. It made the top layer very slippery on top - trying to ice this thing was like trying to walk across an icy pond in shoes - ones without grip! I had to stick toothpicks through the cake layers just so I could ice the darn thing.

And the icing, well it turned purple on the sides from the blackberry sauce. I thought this thing was gonna look awful - white on top, blackberry purple on the sides, with purple tube frosting for lettering - two different color purples, mind you! Leda yelled, "Purple!" as if she didn't expect anything less!

An hour in the refrigerator, I was able to ice the rest of the cake, put the decorations on top and it didn't look too bad - a little lopsided, but as it turns out, only I knew how horrible it actually looked!

Birthday Cake!

Not the icing fest that last year was - Leda bearly needed to be cleaned up! Good thing I let her eat the icing off the spatula so I had an icing shot this year!

Eating Birthday Cake!

And, turns out, the cake wasn't bad at all - the blackberry sauce didn't do much but turn the cake blue in places. I've been told I will be making all the cakes from now on. I will have to see about that! I certainly won't be using blackberry sauce anytime soon! ;-)

It was a good evening. Leda had fun with Paige and the Gabb and Shier kids and she got more Dora and Diego stuff! Throw in a little Finding Nemo on the TV, an excellent prime rib dinner by Brock and good friends to share it with, it was an excellent Two Year Old birthday party!

Can't wait to see what we get to do for her third birthday party!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Leda's TWO!

Leda officially turned TWO today (although she's been acting like a two year old for about six months now!)

Today started with a little present opening before breakfast. Mommy and Daddy took Leda shopping a few weeks ago for one of her presents - a table and chairs of her own (Ikea, of course!) but today she got to open her special present from Mommy and Daddy - a Dora doll!

The Dora doll comes with two outfits two books and a dog. A dog? Dora doesn't have a dog! Well, the doll comes with one, which doesn't seem to bother Leda - she hasn't been asking where Boots is yet!

We also opened our box from Aunt Joan and Uncle Wayne - blocks! Daddy is REALLY excited about the blocks! Leda placated Daddy for a minute or two and went back to Dora!

Leda models her new dress from Aunt Judy!

Leda also got a dress from Aunt Judy and Uncle Paul that we let her wear today for her birthday. Well, more like MADE her wear. Leda doesn't often wear dresses because usually I put one on her and she immediately would take it off. Today I put the dress on her and she pouted at me, "Mommy, No Dress, No Dress, Mommy" but we made her wear it and when the ladies at day care gave her all the attention a little girl wearing a cute little dress for the first time gets, Leda has decided that wearing a dress isn't so bad after all! ;-)

Flowers and Dora

Leda got Flowers from Grandma, because she should ALWAYS expect roses. She got a bunch of things from Aunt Claire and Uncle Bob and Sarah and Scott - a tower of puzzles (which Mommy and Daddy have had LOADs of fun putting back together, thank you very much!), a toy trumpet from Scott (which she loves!), a dolly from Sarah (which she is sleeping with right now), a pair of green crocs and a toy cell phone that looks really real! She got her inch of pearls from her Grandpa and Nana (which Mommy promptly put with her pearls from last year for safe keeping) and a cool ABC puzzle board from Aunt Diane and Uncle Tony!

Granddad and Fay came by for cake and ice cream tonight and Leda got a carry-on bag for her toys and books to take with her on plane rides and long car rides. Specifically we will be using it for our trip to Portland. It's cool - it's a carry-on bag with a handle and wheels so she can wheel it through the airport and it's also got straps so she can wear it like a backpack. She got to putting all her stuff in it right away and then modeled it for us - she almost toppled over backwards!

Backpack!

The fun doesn't end today. On Friday evening we will go out to dinner and over to Sears for our annual portrait and on Saturday we are having some friends over for dinner and cake. And there's apparently more fun stuff on the way for Leda to open!

I can't believe she's two. It doesn't seem possible that only two short years ago she came into this world. She's grown so big and she's so charismatic and smart as a whip.

Back when Leda gave up the bottle at bedtime, I started reading (well, singing, it's a book of songs) this Bedtime for Nemo book and not too many nights after that, we added Goodnight Moon to the books we read for bed. Tonight just before dinner, Leda was in her room looking at the books. I watched her page through the first or two pages of Goodnight Moon saying, "Goodnight Moon, Cow over Moon" and I went back into the kitchen. Since dinner was ready, I went in and told Leda to come in to eat and she insisted on finishing the book. On the last three pages, Leda read, "Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Air, Goodnight noises everywhere" closed the book and started into the dining room. I was stunned - she had just read the exact words on the pages and turned the pages at the exact right time.

Who would have thought, two years ago tonight, that we'd have such a precious and joyful little girl to watch grow? Wow - look what we did!

Happy Birthday, Baby Cakes!

Leda's TWO!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day

This morning started with a bang...Leda hitting the asphalt, with her knees. The first of many scraped knees, seeing that it was going to be about 80 degrees today and I dressed her in shorts!

So, battered and bleeding, I carried her crying (her, not me) into the bathroom, trying not to laugh (yes, I thought it was a little funny - at least I wasn't completely freaking out!). I pulled out the first aid kit figuring that I was going to get to use a bandaid on something other than my nicked legs after shaving. Of course, I kicked myself for not buying those darned Dora bandaids months ago when I thought they might come in handy sometime soon. I cleaned her up pretty good, put a little antiseptic wash on it, put Bactine on my list of things to pick up today (since the antiseptic wash towelette was the last one in the first aid kit!) and got ready to put the bandaid on.

Kids love bandaids, right? Not my kid. I thought the screaming bloody murder was supposed to happen when the boo-boos happened, right? Nope, apparently in my household, that happens when the bandaid gets put on the bleeding knee! I was told in no uncertain terms, "off, Mommy, off." So, off came the bandaids and all was right with the world.

So, we tried this again, out the door and into the car to go to the garden center to go shopping. We had fun at the garden center. Got us some parsley and rosemary and mint and tarragon. We also got some yummy smelling lavender to grow around Mommy's fountain this year.

We stopped at Sears to buy some pots to grow the herbs in and saw a wind chime we really liked, so bought that up, too! And then a quick run in at the drug store to get Bactine and Dora bandaids - which, she still wouldn't let me put on! Oh well, I tried! At least I have them for the next time!

After lunch Leda went down for a nap and I went out to plant my herbs. It will be fun to watch them grow (I have oregano, chives and basil I am growing from seed and radishes and mini sunflowers).

DSC_0041

After nap we played outside and waited for Daddy to get home from work. We had a lot of fun playing with Connor (the boy who lives next door - he's about 11 and Leda adores him!) We fished for crayfish and salamanders in the creek and had a blast! No, Mommy doesn't touch them, however, I will fish them out with the net and let Leda look at them - "EWWWWWW" she says!

We spent a lot of time outside today, and being that it was a beautiful day AND Earth Day, that was just as well. And just before coming in to clean up and go to bed, Leda spotted the moon. And just before we went in the house, she looked up and said, "night, night, Moon!" And all is well with our world!

DSC_0134

Beautiful Weekend

This weekend, although not completely over, has been beautiful. Yesterday was a beautiful 76 degree day with not a cloud in the sky. Today is going to be around 80 with not a cloud in the sky.

Makes you think about gardening and things like that, so Leda and I are off to the garden center today to begin the process. Nothing exciting yet, just some containers and some herb seeds for the herb garden I plan to attempt this year. Something a little different I figure. We'll see how that one pans out! If I don't kill them from the get-go, we may have some herbs for the kitchen well into next winter!

Yesterday I did a little birthday shopping for a little girl who will be turning TWO this week! Can't quite believe she's almost two! I ended up having to get the "big" present off amazon.com due to not being able to find it at Target (WHAT? Unable to find Dora dress-up doll at Target? Home of everything Dora? Unbelievable!). I wanted to get her Little Mermaid but couldn't find it at Target either (!!!) I did find Happy Feet and being a penguin lover (and a Hugh Jackman lover - I didn't know he voiced one of the characters!!) I grabbed it up and we watched it for our Saturday night movie. Leda wasn't too interested in the movie as she is in Cars or Finding Nemo, but Brock and I liked it! Cute movie!

It was a nice little third Anniversary present to myself, too. Yesterday was the Third Anniversary of the day I quit smoking. Cold Turkey. No Patch. No Pill. No Gum. Cold Turkey. And believe me, labor was not NEARLY as hard as that! I STILL crave a cigarette - not every day now, no, only every other day. And maybe twice a day depending on the stress level. But I have been very good about not smoking another cigarette since 11:30pm, April 21st, 2004. And yes, I remember every last drag of that cigarette! I have to. It's the last one I ever plan on having.

So, off to enjoy the beautiful day with my beautiful almost two years old daughter. It will be the last weekend she will be one years old! If I can tear her away from Dora!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Nor'Easters Suck!

The past weekend I was in Boston for training for work. Up at a god-awful hour on Friday morning to catch a 6:30 am flight to Boston sucked. What sucked worse was the thought that I might be stuck in Boston depending on what the freaking weather was going to produce on Sunday.

The weekend was a long weekend of training. Friday night the group (about 25 people) did head into town for an AWESOME Italian dinner. But the combination of getting up really early on Friday morning, an evening of good food and a glass or two of wine and having to get up early for an 8am start of training made for me being REALLY tired on Saturday night. A few of us headed out to a steak house for dinner and I was in bed by 8:30 on Saturday night.

Sunday was interesting. Training again started at 8am, but breaks consisted of trying to figure out if our 5:30pm flight was gonna actually happen or not! One person (one our our trainers) found out his flight was completely cancelled. About 10:30 or so, we found out our flight was cancelled, so a rental car was procured and training for us ended at noon when we headed to the rental car place and hopped in a car for the 7+ hour ride home.

The ride home was not too bad, considering it NEVER stopped raining and it was always pretty darn heavy. If we had left later than noon, we more than likely wouldn't have made it home when we did (around 9pm - after we had to go to the airport to pick up my boss's car and drop off the rental). The roads weren't too bad, one road was washed out on the other side and probably would have washed out our side in about a half hour after we passed through. Connecticut was a bog - any area of land at the bottom of a hill was a lake or river. It was truly amazing. I don't think I have seen that much water in a really long time!

Anyway, I didn't get home in time to see Leda before bed, which sucked, because I missed her terribly. The last time I had seen her was Thursday night when I put her to bed. This morning I finally got to see her and I swear she grew an inch and is speaking French!

The storm didn't do us to bad - we had some snow this morning, but otherwise, we were unscathed. I am so happy to see it go away - here's hoping we get some warm spring weather in behind it in the next week or so.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Cold Easter Weekend

We had a great, albeit cold and sometimes snowy, Easter weekend.

Brock and I took Leda off to Ikea to shop for her birthday present from Mommy and Daddy - a table and chairs! We had a good time walking around and looking at all the stuff, purchasing our table and chairs and then we headed up to the restaurant for lunch.

Leda had her milk out of a big girl cup! No sippy cup, no straw, no lid - just a cup with some milk in it! She did pretty darn good! She held it with two hands, didn't spill but a little bit - when she got really excited about what she was doing and shook it up!

We headed home for a little nap and then off to the Shiers for the annual Easter Egg hunt and dinner. The kids were more than ready to go hunting eggs that were hidden in Debbie and Jim's yard (the Shier's next door neighbors) and the timing couldn't have been better...the sun was shining and it was SNOWING!

So we bundled up the kids and went off to hunt eggs! (and yes, the white flecks you see are SNOW FLAKES!)

Egg Hunting Crew

Leda got A LOT of eggs. She's pretty good at the egg hunting thing!

A Green One!

Nathan, Jim and Debbie's little boy, wasn't so good at the egg hunting (he's only 20 months old). Leda had a basket full of eggs in no time at all and was heading for three or four more. I asked Leda if she wouldn't mind giving the one she had just picked up to Nathan and without hesitation, walked over to Nathan's basket and placed the egg in. She proceed to find three more that she brought to Nathan. We were amazed by her generosity!

Leda offers a found egg to Nathan

After all the eggs were found, we headed back inside to warm up and have some good food and fun with friends. It was a great evening.

Looking for eggs

Easter Sunday found us finding out what the Easter Bunny brought Leda (some Dora the Explorer figurines and a little stuffed duck - no candy, only hard-boiled eggs - got lots of candy at the Easter egg hunt!) and spending a quiet day at home.

Easter Bunny goodies

It was a nice, relaxing weekend.

Friday, April 6, 2007

My first Meme - Real Moms

Well, thanks to Colleen over at Delaney Diaries I have been tagged with my first meme (for those of you not so blog and Internet savvy, memes (pronounced like "theme") is described here)

As Colleen points out, this meme was started here.

So, without further ado....

Real Moms hide the books they have read WAY TOO MANY TIMES and CAN'T BEAR to read again (Real Dads do it too!)!

Real Moms carry diapers/pull-ups in their purses and pull them out when looking for the wallet to pay the nice lady!

Real Moms have watched Finding Nemo at least 8 times in the past two weeks (just keep watching, just keep watching).

Real Moms forget to take the camera on special occasions at least half the time.

Real Moms can't remember a single thing they did five minutes ago.

Real Moms put their shoes on when their child goes to find them, bring them to her and demand that she put them on so that we can go outside.

Real Moms will take the clothes off the baby doll - no, put the clothes back on the baby doll - no, take the clothes off the baby doll - no, put them back on - over and over and over and etc.....

Real Moms feel good when their children cry because Mom is leaving.

Today was Leda's day care Easter party. We were invited to join the kids in an egg hunt so Brock and I headed on over. Leda was so happy to see us arrive. We had a great time - Leda found 12 eggs! We went back inside after the hunt (which lasted all of about 10 minutes because it was too darn cold outside) and we checked out our bounty. There were a couple hard-boiled eggs and some eggs with surprises in them like a necklace and some stickers and even some gummy bears (organic, no sugar!). We had fun watching all the kids open their eggs and then it was time for lunch and for us to leave. Leda went ballistic! She pushed Ms. Kim away and held onto me really tight. She wouldn't let me go and she wasn't too happy to see me leave.

Leda loves going to day care - she likes playing with the kids and we know she loves Ms. Kim. Early on it was tough for me to think she may like Ms. Kim more than me because she spent a few days a week with Ms. Kim and only full weekends with me. I know it wasn't a completely rational feeling or thought, but if you are a working mom, you probably had the same feeling/thoughts at some point - it's part of that whole tug of war that any mom goes through who decides to continue working (for necessity or for sanity ;-) after the birth of a child.

So, part of me felt bad, I mean it wasn't fun to leave my child screaming, thinking I was leaving her. But in a way, I felt good. It let me know that Leda really did love me and didn't like to be away from me. And, Ms. Kim did call us to let us know Leda calmed down almost immediately after we left.

I don't have a picture of my screaming child, but I do have some of her finding eggs and eating her gummy bears!

Hunting Easter Eggs

Eating Gummy Bears!

I tag anyone who wants to have a go at the Real Moms Meme!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A funny thing happened on my way to vote...and other stuff

So I am logging onto my computer last night after "Dancing with the Stars" so I can vote for Apolo (yes, I have voted EACH and EVERY week so far! I am a devoted fan! I also feel, as an American, it is my duty to vote ;-) and who but my Mother instant messages me almost immediately asking me if I what I am doing is voting for Apolo -felt very much the same way I felt two weeks ago when Brock caught me voting for the very first time. Of course, I laughed and asked her what SHE was doing, voting for Apolo, too? To my surprise (and, may I add, delight!), she replied yes, she had just spent her 10 votes on Apolo!

Now, everyone, go get yourself an abc.com user name and login and remember to vote every Monday night for Apolo Ono! He Must Continue!
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I have been tagged with my first meme by Colleen about Real Moms. I totally plan to post on this soon (hopefully by the end of the week - I TOTALLY agree with Colleen's first Real Moms statement - too tired and busy to post to the blog more than once a week!) I need to think about it some.
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Last Thursday night was Leda's last bottle before bed. Brock was off in the wilds of western PA over the weekend, so Leda and I spent Friday night having a little Boston Market meatloaf! She got some milk with her meal and so I put it in a sippy cup for her and she drank it before bed - and didn't NEED the bottle. So I thought I would try something similar on Saturday night.

I gave her a sippy cup with milk just before bed and we read a book and she went to bed without needing a bottle and without fuss!

Last night she wasn't happy to be going to bed and not have her sippy cup in bed with her. As we have NEVER left a bottle or sippy cup in bed with her, I was a little worried about trying this, but I figured that as soon as she fell asleep I could sneak in and grab it from her. So I let her have it. About a half hour or so later, I went in and took it out of her crib. I did the same tonight. No bottle, no fuss, no screaming, boy, that was too darn easy! I LOVE it!

Now, if only I could figure out how to get her to stop using the binky at night and nap time!

Cutest kid....EVER!

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