February Reads

My February reading started with the new release The Girl on the Train. It had been compared to Gone Girl so I purchased it with cautious optimism, being the GG lover I am. It totally lived up to the comparison, in a different instead of copy-cat sort of way. It was structured as multiple voices telling different chapters, switched back and forth between present and past à la Gone Girl, and also centered around a crime. The Girl on the Train, though, features a main character who is also an alcoholic and can't remember what happens when she drinks, which adds the whole element that she doesn't even know if she has committed the crime or not. 

This book was definitely a page-turner thriller. Once I was about 3/4 of the way done, I absolutely had to finish it in that sitting, just to see what was going to happen! I totally recommend it if you are in the mood for an exciting read. 

My second book this month, Wild, popped up on my Amazon "you might like this" list. Wild was actually published some years ago, but was recently made into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon. The book's synopsis had me at PCT. Ah, PCT (for the Pacific Crest Trail), an acronym so close to PCH, the Pacific Coast Highway, where I have logged so many hours and so many miles driving. (Born and bred in California, a Golden State Girl I will always be). Anyway, though I was very familiar with the PCH, I knew little about the PCT, a hiking trail that runs all through California, over the Sierras on to Oregon and Washington. I was intrigued by this true story of a twenty-something girl who ventured out on her own to conquer the trail at a pivotal point in her life. The author actually wrote the book many years after hiking the trail, with the ability to look back on the experience and pinpoint its place in changing her for the better. 

The actual reading of the book was pretty interesting. The author would go between really detailed descriptions of hiking the trail and skimming overviews, dotted by flashbacks to her life pre-trail. I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you want an inspiring story that puts you in places and situations you've never been. 

What was on your February book list??

Orange Week!

Following the rainbow (ROYGBIV), next up after Red Week came ORANGE week for Sweet P. We followed the same structure of our red week, involving an orange discovery box, orange foods, orange clothes, and an orange craft. 

For the orange discovery box, I once again just scoured the house for anything orange. 

There were so many orange foods to choose from! Clockwise we have cheddar cheese shapes, shredded carrot, roasted butternut squash, orange chunks, and sweet potato fries. 

 Y'all, I thought little man was going to turn orange himself. 

Orange mittens for playing in the snow. 

Orange selfies, check. 

For the orange craft, Parker experimented with orange watercolor paint. First, I let him go to town on a blank piece of paper.

Then, I freehanded and cut out a fish shape on card stock (I just needed a shape that was orange), traced it on his watercolor page with pencil and cut it out. 

He was having so much fun painting that I let him do another sheet, so we had even more fish cut outs. I pasted two back to back and added a mouth and goggly eye so he had a little orange fishy friend to take around: 

Parker helped me paste the other one on a piece of blue paper (then I added the mouth and paper eye). 

It has been amazing seeing Parker become more consistent and confident in his color identification! Orange (or, "Oooaaahrrrrr" as he calls it) was a color he really didn't know at all before, and he can point it out everywhere now! He continues to be strong with last week's color "gah" (red), and "boooo" (blue) even though we haven't studied that color yet, and he has somehow randomly picked up brown (I'm guessing Brown Bear, Brown Bear had something to do with it). He's also pretty good with purple, but yellow and green need the most work, which is perfect because those are our next two color studies!


Five on Friday

1. We are officially signed up for Community Supported Agriculture for summer 2015! This was one of the things on my must-do list when we decided to move to the south (it was kind of non-existent in the desert so I wanted to take advantage!). We went with Doe Run Farms, so once a week all summer Parker and I will head to the town square and pick up our mini bushel of produce plus the extra "fruit lovers" portion that we added. I. Can't. Wait. I've been feeling so uninspired cooking lately with all the meh produce out there, so I'm hoping this will jump start some healthy eating habits!!

2. Have y'all heard of the "flat white" from Starbucks? I ordered one yesterday. It uses "ristretto" shots of espresso which apparently brew for a shorter amount of time and with less water. I actually couldn't tell much of a difference between it and a regular latte - maybe it was a bit smoother? I'm not sure if this was the sugar pill effect though, with me expecting it to taste different so it did? And, I'm actually a cappuccino fan so the drink was a bit heavy on the milk for my taste. I do think I need to try it again, though!

3. I have still not tired of the cold! Call it living in the desert for five years, but I am having fun with hats and scarves and coats. Even in eighteen degrees. Our trips to Target look very different now!


4. AND, we finally got  some snow, adding to the whole "this cold weather thing is incredible!" mind set.

5. Our weekend started last night! Max works extra long days so he can take every other Friday off (it's a company wide thing) and let me tell you, it is fantastic.

I can't wait for more of this. I mean, this is what weekends are all about! Love!


PCK 23 Months

Parker Campbell, you will turn TWO years old exactly one month from right now.  As a special treat, we woke up to SNOW on today, your 23-month birthday. Where, oh where, has the time gone? In so many ways, I still think of you as a BABY, but each and every day you surprise me with how much you are growing and learning and doing…

Health: Parker’s leg healed incredibly fast! One day he was hobbling around and the next he was back to walking like it had never been broken!

And, while Parker has never really been sick or even had a fever other than while teething, we did have a bit of a scare the other day when he woke up from a nap with his left eye almost completely swollen shut. Luckily, he was acting fine, it didn't seem to bother him, and his actual eye was moving around and seeing things. Children's Benadryl (as per the advice nurse's recommendation) helped the swelling  go down and brought the eye to looking almost normal, and that's when we saw what was most likely a bug bite on his eyelid. Add that to the bee sting from last summer, little man is just too sweet to resist! After a good night's sleep, his eye was 100% better. 

Sleep: Parker loves his sleep. We have quiet time (reading, snuggling, singing) before naps and bedtime, and then when it’s time for him to go into his crib, he sometimes giggles and says “bye bye!” – as in, “I’m totally excited to sleep now, thanks.” After shunning blankets for sometime (he would say “Aaahhfff! Aaahhhfff!”) Max finally got him to take one into his crib and he has loved it ever since (he even pointed at it, smiled, then put his face down on it and snuggled with it just to get the point across). Parker currently sleeps with his bunny, a sheep (“baaahhh! baaahhh!) and 2-4 rotating books (he will run/hippity hop each one over and lunge it into his crib after we read them in the “seeeet”). Favorites to sleep with this month have been “ahpuh boo” (Airplane Book), his picture dictionary, Goodnight Texas, Little Blue Truck, “Bah Buh Bah Buh” (Brown Bear, Brown Bear), The Wheels on the Bus, and Goodnight Moon (both the English and Spanish versions).

Diet: Favorite foods this month have been yogurt, “layala”s (crackers), cheese, kiwi, “maahhh” (mango), pineapple, kidney beans, blueberries, corn, edamame, and tortilla chips with salsa.

Also, there's always room for ice cream. 

Likes: Parker has found the spice drawer in the kitchen! One of his new favorite things to do is pick out different jars, bring them over to me or Max, ask what they are, have us open them to he can smell them, and then put them back in the drawer. He is especially obsessed with Chili Flakes and Whole Nutmeg.

Parker loves “hoo hoo”s (trains), “ahpuhs” (airplanes), “guhyahs” (crayons), riding in Sandy (if we are in Pepper he will talk non-stop about how he’d rather be in Sandy), EXIT signs, STOP signs and YIELD signs, radio towers and water towers (he’ll request I draw these for him).

He's been on an “ahhnaugh” (astronauts, he always whispers this word) kick lately and only wants to sleep in astronaut pajamas (luckily he has several pairs).

His most random favorite? An anemometer (pictured above, a device used to measure wind speed – I promise I would not know what this was if I were not married to Max). Parker and I were playing with his toy airport one day, and he held up the toy anemometer and said “annamomema!” (Max had identified it some time before – how Parker remembered what it was, I have no idea). Since then, Parker has been on and off obsessed with it (we’ve had to make countless trips up and down the stairs to retrieve said anemometer). I was putting him down for his nap one afternoon, and he was holding his precious anemometer in hand, running with his happy feet exclaiming “annamomema! annamomema!”, until he saw his Exit sign and then said “Eyeh! Eyeh!” and I thought he must be the only almost two-year-old out there obsessed with such obscure things! A future scientist like Dada? I should think so!

And speaking of Dada, Parker could spend all day every day up in Dada's home "office" - I think it's his favorite spot!

So many buttons to press!

Social: Parker loves saying “bye-bye” to people and things. We’ll leave a room and he’ll just say “bye bye!” Parker continues to love chasing games, hide-and-seek, and “calling” people on faux phones. Parker has also started telling “stories”. We’ll pass by an animal (a cow, a bird, a dog) and Parker will make the yum yum sound like the animal is eating, then he’ll tell us all the things the animal is “eating” (mango, melon and crackers are all usually on the list!).

Though we haven’t introduced any new sign language signs in months and months, Parker has come up with a few on his own to communicate with us. “Flower” is rubbing his cheek, “stairs” are raising and lowering his arm, rubbing his tummy with both hands refers to lotion, and he opens and closes his hands to indicate blinking lights. He has also added a palm in the air to emphasize “pah” (stop) when he says it. He randomly busted out the sign for please while he was saying “pleeeeeeese”, and it totally shocked me as I hadn’t done the sign in ages.

Milestones: Parker’s self awareness has jumped to the next level – he knows he’s the baby and he knows when he wants to do things by himself! If I ask “Can Mamma help?” in an effort to aid him in a task, he will proclaim “Baby!” – as in “I’m going to carry this book by myself”, or “No thanks, I’ll spear my own food with my fork”, or “Excuse me, I’m going to dip my own paintbrush in the paint thank you very much.” It makes me giggle whenever I hear “Baby!” I just love it.

We have also started officially working on colors, having a color of the week! Parker already had “buhhh” (blue) down, sometimes “puhpuh” (purple), and now can identify “gah” (red) and “ohhrrahh” (orange).

He has also randomly become obsessed with the capital letter “T”. It’s present in both his EXIT signs and STOP signs, so we have pointed it out and identified it quite a bit, but all of a sudden he is a “T” finding machine. If there is one on a book page, on a sign, on a package, in a store, wherever, he will find it and say “Teeeeeeeeee!” He also has been into finding capital “E”s, and then will say “Eyeh” (Exit), as in, “I know that letter, it’s on my EXIT sign.”

Speaking of EXIT signs, Parker has been identifying them for ages, and I would argue with Max that this meant he was "reading" (Max said he was identifying the light up boxes above doors). I was only half joking about the reading thing. Then, we made a trip to Costco where P saw this masking tape "Exit" on the floor and immediately said "Eyeh!" I of course took the opportunity to point out to Max that this Exit was neither above a door nor glowing. I believe that's a point for my theory that he's "reading" ;) 

PCK, These last 23 months have been an amazing whirlwind of awesomeness. Thank you for teaching your Dada and me what is truly important in life. We love you, our littlest man!

P.S. You have taken to calling me “Mommy” part-time. I’m not sure if I should cry as this makes you sound like you have turned into a teenager overnight, or if I should just bask in the absolute cuteness of the way you say “Mahmeeeeee”, always with a smile!


Valentine's 2015

Max was away on business for Parker's first Valentine's Day last year, so this was my first year celebrating Heart Day with both my Valentines. My heart could not have been more full. Plus, my favorite holiday fell on a Saturday this year so we got the entire day to bask in red and pink heart goodness.

We woke up and headed directly to brunch (after I found flowers around the house that Max placed while I was sleeping - sweetest thing ever!) . This was my first Heart Day in a cold climate, and I must say that all my cute Valentine themed clothing is for California/the desert (i.e. short sleeved and not gonna  happen). I managed to get my pink on while my boys opted for red. While we were waiting for our brunch table, we popped into the Hobby Lobby that was next door. This was my first time in the Alabama Hobby Lobby and it was probably five times bigger than the one in Phoenix. Also, Hobby Lobby is chalkboard Mecca. Thankfully my husband was there to steer me away or I would have adopted another one. 

Parker was the best little man while we waited to be seated, and then was happy as a clam to be coloring at the table.

I had to go with the special red velvet pancakes in honor of the day.

I shared with my littlest Valentine who thought they were yummy, too.

We came home and opened Valentines and made the rounds to the neighbors to drop off cookies (but no one was home!).

We put Parker down for his nap, and it sounded so good that Max and I took a nap, too. It was glorious! We woke up to even more valentines that had been delivered in the mail :)

Sweet Parker shared his Valentine goodies with Dada.

We managed to get the curtains finally hung in Parker's room (and by we I mean Max, with Parker and me cheering him on and telling him where they looked good). Our dinner plans were fuzzy - we had debated picking up Thai and bringing it home (I am a forever fan of a Thai picnic), but we opted last-minute to head out to Five Guys.

Yes, I brought our own heart plates. Really, it was to be festive, but after dining with them it made me realize how much nicer it was to have them. I think that in the future, I will forever bring themed plates when we dine out at Five Guys. 

I was all sorts of happy at dinner. Partially because of my plates, but mostly for being able to spend my day with the best valentines.

And Parker was just happy to be eating ketchup. 

We rounded out the day with an episode of Top Chef in bed, and then I dug into my US Weekly that had arrived that afternoon. Best Valentine's Day yet :)

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