Forgotten Son

Do you forget we have a dog? I do. I mean I remember every morning when Alex tells me he has fed him or when I ask Alex if he has fed him. I also remember at night when he is throwing himself against the door because he wants to come inside. I also remember when Zach tells me that “shut-up Norman” is a bad word. Noted.

But most of the time, let’s face it, he is our redheaded step-child. Which I obviously feel I can say being a redhead. Between jobs and two babies we have time to feed Norm, pet him at night and “encourage” him to lay down on his mat in the back room. Might I point out his “mat” is a flat dog bed with not much padding because he has torn apart every other mat he has ever had.

Well this Christmas Lauren gave Zach a chair to match James’. James got his for his birthday and Zachary has been coveting it and sitting/squishing/standing/rolling on it ever since. Well now he has his own to torture at will.

Or does he.

That does not say Norman.

But my sweet first born said, “That’s OK Norman we can share.”

Because sometimes we need not-chicken

In my quest to see what I can make and freeze I decided to give these coconut shrimp a try. They are from a Weight Watchers blog I read when I was trying to be skinny and I always wanted to try them. I figured if Gorton’s could do it, I could too.

Turns out I was right this time. And since they are crispy and sweet the boys ate them up. I think Zach might have tried to make me scrape of the breading but he is ridiculous. That is the best part! I made the dipping sauce but really it was not needed.

Skinny Coconut Shrimp
from Skinnytaste

Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 3 shrimp, 1 tbsp sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (24) large raw shrimp, peeled and deviened (weight after peeled)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch salt
  • non-stick spray

For the Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves (you can use sugar free if you wish)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly coat a non-stick baking sheet with oil.
Combine coconut flakes, panko crumbs and salt in a bowl. Place the flour on a small dish. Whisk egg in another bowl.
Lightly season shrimp with salt. Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture.
Lay shrimp on the cookie sheet then spray the top of the shrimp with more cooking spray; bake in the middle rack for about 10 minutes. Turn shrimp over then cook another 6-7* minutes or until cooked though. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce.
For the sauce, combine all the ingredients and place in a small bowl.

*For freezing I stopped after about 4-5 minutes as they get cooked more when re-heated.

Can we please sit still?

OK so on a scale of one to sedentary, I am about an 8. I hate to exercise, really only prefer to run if chased and the thought of doing an exercise video makes me tired. Cut to me having an 18 month old and a 4 year old. I have never been more active in my life. Granted it is not the Alex Wall method of “active” – I am not going 90 to nothing for 10 minutes and doing excessive calf raises, but I am busy.

My point in this triad is that I like to sit. Sit and sit quietly with a book or the TV. None of the boys (Norman included) in my life support this plan. Ever. Unless they are sick which is glorious. Don’t tell them I said that.

All I want to do in the morning is adjust to being awake for 5 or 10 minutes. Not gonna happen. Paying zero attention to his sun/moon light Zach comes in every morning without fail to stand about 10 inches from my face to tell me he has to go to the bathroom. He has to pass through two doors to do this. He could just open one door and go to his bathroom but he prefers to alert me.

However, I came across this unfinished blog post from when he was James’ age and I think him going to the bathroom and back to his room to play is better than it was….

…Every morning someone is handing me my shoes, saying “Mommy shoe Mommy shoe?”. They are being handed to me in the bed. Gross, I don’t want my dirty shoes in the bed, but if you put them down on the floor the entire exercise starts all over. So I just lay there holding my shoes and not letting them touch anything, while someone confirms that I am trying to go “night night?”…

PS I have so many questions about this small snip-it of my life. Like, how did he get out of bed? I had to have gone to get him and then laid back down? Seriously, what was going on. James is this age and he would not for one second stand me laying down. He would scream at me from the side of the bed or insist on climbing up to lay on our heads.

Here are my sweet boys at Einstein’s where we like to go on the weekend mornings. Usually significantly more early that I would prefer to be anywhere.

Like a fool

I recently realized James was totally playing me in the evenings. It all started a few weeks we got rid of the bottle (still not when I was supposed to but he is my baby and I don’t care). I went through our usual routine of reading books, lights out, sippy cup, pacifier (shhh) and then down. He was a perfect Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. I laid him down awake and he peacefully drifted off to sleep.

I thought I was amazing for months.

Then all of a sudden that little thing would start to rage the second I left the room. I, of course, thought he was sick/teething/had to poo/was being murdered and ran to check on him. The second I would pick him up to rock him he wanted to get down. I just put him back in bed but we all know I would then cave and go back in there and in there and in there.

Such a first-time mom move.

It took Lauren telling me that my child is trying to control me. HSHHC also confirmed in a passage about  child that would rage at his parents until they walked into the room. Oh stubborn mini-Kinsey, I should have recognized it. He is in that phase where he has finally realized things are going on around him and he is not the least bit pleased to be missing it. Not at all.

James, you are the second child. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice – nice try, but I am on to your stubborn ways. Two can play at that and I have had much more practice ignoring things I don’t like than you.

In case you thought James’ crying was soft and sweet I submit this video into evidence of my torture. It was from a few month ago before he was walking, and I really think he has only gotten louder.

New Year’s 2012

Or is it 2013? I never know which year to label it when I am talking about the new year.

So whatever year it was 2012/2013 this was the first one we have spent with out kids. Last year we made a list of all the years we could remember. We could not remember 2006, 2007 or 2010. It is the 2010 that bugs me….

2008 was easy, we had arrived home 6 days earlier with baby Zachary. 

2009 we spent with Jen, Scott and Tyler. Well, we spent until 8pm on New Year’s with them.

2010? Anyone? Anyone? I would have been pregnant with James, we spent Christmas here in Houston and that is where the memory ends…I am guessing the answer is nothing. We did nothing but go to sleep, since I would have been feeling like crap? Maybe?

2011 was the most fun so far (post-kids that is, let’s not kid ourselves). We went to dinner at the Captain’s and were home well before midnight. But it was casual, James was even in his pajamas. We were one of the few people in there and everyone was so sweet to the boys. Don’t worry, James and I rang in the New Year at midnight when he was up to eat. We had a mini-celebration that consisted of me trying to fall asleep while nursing him.

PS Do you see that fat baby with the french fry? We didn’t. Not until I looked back at the photo.

2012 Alex and I went to dinner at 10pm at a restaurant near the Galleria which was delicious. I told him I would obviously have to pre-eat as my dinner time is 5:30 normally. Here I am pretending I don’t want to steal one of those balloons for my children and to also go to sleep.

 The boys spent the night with the Walls, eating dinner at Fuddruckers and counting down to midnight in Greenland (which is 9pm CST). Only Vince could get away with sharing a shake with James. As previously mentioned, he does NOT like to share.

The best was New Year’s day when we got to sleep in. That was the perfect way to ring in the New Year, a bit more peppy thanks to a few more hours of sleep. Don’t tell the 25 year olds. They won’t get it.

Like Father Like Son

Since James was born, Zach has been getting dressed basically on his own. It is not fast and takes many reminders and he really doesn’t like to put on underwear, which we have to monitor. He also likes to wear the shirt he has slept in under his clean shirt. Whatever. He is dressed and I rarely care.

The problem is Zachary seems to have picked up Alex’s sense of dressing. This means he picks comfort over coordination EVERY TIME. It started with his shirts, they need to be soft and with no tags. Then it transitioned into he wanted to wear only his “basketball shorts” or pants. I almost started to cry.

This is the exact same issue I face with his father. Multiple, multiple discussions have been had over the past 7+ years about how basketball shorts and athletic pants are NOT acceptable clothing choices for every single casual encounter. “But they are so comfortable” is always the refrain. And tacky. Oh and he “dresses them up” with a polo shirt. Terrible. Why do I even bother trying to look nice when I am out with a gangster from the 80s?

I did finally made some headway after I threatened to wear my yoga pants (aka “house pants” as they have never seen a yoga studio) all the time “because they are so comfortable”. This actually gave Alex some pause, which tells you how bad those pants are. He finally agreed that to parties, yes parties only, he would wear jeans.

How is this my life?
#384 on the list of things I should have paid attention to.

I have decided to combat this for my child’s future wife (you are welcome Tiffany) I am going to make him wear jeans to school one day a week. First off, he needs to figure out how to zip and snap and second, jeans or khakis are a normal casual pant choice, Alex.

I don’t even know what is going on in this picture. They were out at Grandma Ena’s and somehow decided to pose for this way.

Baked Ravioli – Not from St. Louis

In St. Louis there is a dish called Fried Ravioli which is just as it sounds – ravioli rolled in coating and fried. If you Google Baked Ravioli, Google assumes you are trying to make the healthy version of that dish. This is not a post about that search result.

I spotted this image and link on Pinterest and thought it could be a great weekday dinner for us. That and I spotted a double pack of chicken and cheese ravioli at Costco.
 

But it looked a tad plain. I mean it just ravioli, some pasta sauce and cheese. So I went search for something more. I found recipes like I mention above, a ton of them, a couple for ravioli with chicken and cheese mixed in, and this one that looked delicious. But in the end they all seemed like more work than I had time for since I had actual work and needed to bring dinner to a new mom in my ‘hood that same day.

So made it the plain, easy way, adding some chives on top that I had. Since I was using fresh ravioli it only needed about 20 minutes to bake. And it was really, really good. Zach won’t eat it as he claims to not like ravioli (liar) but the rest of the family wolfed it down. Add this to your menu immediately.

Grandma Ena

Just before Christmas Liv’s mom moved to town. We are all excited to have Grandma Ena (otherwise known at Rowena) closer to us and the boys wasted no time welcoming her to town. They got to be there when the moving truck arrived with her things which I am certain the movers found very helpful. Zach talked about the big truck for days.

It is really nice that Alex can take the boys out to see his grandma like they did yesterday when I was otherwise engaged in spending time shopping. They went to lunch and then to the Willowbrook fire station. Apparently there was only one fireman on duty (ummm, OK) but he let the boys climb all over the fire trucks, ambulance and the station.

Last night Zach told me they also take care of babies at the fire station so we could leave James there if we wanted. I don’t think that is what they had in mind.


Apparently Zach is “skateboarding” on Grandma Ena’s mini-ironing board. This could be as he does know what and ironing board is for.
 

My baby James

I finally finished our 2011 photo album, yes that is right, 2011, anyway and I noticed how many, many, many posts about Zachary I had. I chronicled everything that child did. Poor James. I think all the same things, about how he is so precious, how I love his walk with his butt and belly stuck out and how he “talks” all the time. However, his talking is second to his shrieking. That child shrieks at me all day. Well, for the 4 hours we are together, he is shrieking.

And even though I think all those things I can’t seem to find the energy to blog about them. And since I have boys they are barely going to care, but I do. So in that vein and with my love of lists, here are the top 10 things I love about my baby James right now:

1. His “run”. It is so awesome, he totally looks like a fat man. He ducks his head, swings his arms and off he goes. Precious.

2. His “words”. He is starting say more and more things. There are still very few that you can actually understand, save “Mama”, “Dada”, “bye”, “crackers” and “snack”. That is right, two of his favorite most used words are “cracker” and  “snack”. He yells them at me most mornings and evenings. He also yells, “Nuuuuu” for Norman and “aaaaakkk” for Zach. Again, no one really knows this unless both are close by.

3. His lack of hair. I adore that still mostly bald head. With his big eyes it makes him look more like a baby to me. Which I enjoy.

4.  Seeing him and Zachary play. James is still highly interested in whatever Zach is doing. No one can make him laugh like Zach can. James is (naturally) the aggressor in all situations so it is very normal for him to throw himself on Zach and start wrestling. He laughs and laughs as Zach pins him and vice versa. It never lasts long before someone is in trouble, but it is a blissful few minutes.

5. How fat he still is. That baby is enormous. I mean not really, he is like 50% but carrying around 25 lbs is no easy feet. But I love it. He is still so round and chubby with those cheeks. That chub let’s him get away with a lot.

I captured this video for my friend Laura who gave Zach this lion zoo set. James roaring like a lion makes my day.

4 Year Old Fun

Zach turned four on December 23rd and we had his birthday on the 22nd at WonderWild. The theme was super heros for my Spider-man/Superman/Batman loving little boy.
I am just going to pretend I don’t have a four year old because that means I am one step closer to him not being a little boy any more. I can’t even think about that.
And I know you are just dying to know all the details about his party. How well we know each other.
The whole reason I picked WonderWild for his birthday was for the little kids play area in front of the huge 3 story obstacle course and inflatable slide for the big kids. But naturally James thought that little kids area was beneath him and only wanted to be on the too-big obstacle course. And Zach really wanted to be in the ball pit. I can’t win.
Can you tell that they have capes attached to their shirts? I spotted these at Target and could not leave them in the store. James has no clue he is wearing one, sort of like a Kick Me sign and it tickles me to no end.
No wonder James is so annoyed all the time.

Our littlest guest arrived in full holiday gear. Next year I will be sending him a super hero outfit. I know his mother will be so thrilled.

My playgroup friends! We have been together since our 4 year olds were infants. We all have two now and I love these ladies. They have saved me more than once.

I was super pleased with how these Kroger cupcakes and Amazon purchased rings turned out. I really wanted those pink super girl rings for the girls. And they did as well, might I add.

Check out the Sophie on the left as Spider-man, Zach as Green Lantern and Sophie on the right as Wonder Woman. I made the masks from craft foam based on a template from Pinterest. I improvised a bit to make Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and the lines on Spider-Man. I made Zach try them all on. It was the only thing I made from scratch and I was very proud of myself. Quite a change from other parties…oh what a difference a second baby makes.

I love Allen.

Don’t worry – James was mildly unimpressed with all the festivities.

This grandpa, Jim, brought his grandson since his parents were off with my nemesis had other plans. They were the first to arrive and last to leave – which I love. You know you are always sweating it when the party starts; that no one is actually going to come and you am going to have to entertain your children alone for two hours. This is Jim’s second appearance on the blog and I am 99% sure that he has no clue a) that I have a blog, b) that he has made these two appearances and c) what a blog is.

My baby is four, my baby is four, my baby is four.