Posts in August 2015

Sous Chef

Recently Wes has been really interested in meal preparation. Our old house had such a small kitchen that cooking side-by-side was next to impossible. Steven fixes more than his fair share of dinner options for the family, and though Wes would try to sneak a peek at what he was doing, that kitchen didn’t allow for him to get up close and “help” make dinner.

Now that we have a much larger kitchen by comparison, there’s really no excuse to redirect Wes’ attention. It doesn’t bother me that he wants to check on food in the oven or watch us brown ground beef on the stovetop. And just this past week, Wes has become more vocal about his interests.

“Can I help you, Mama?”

How can you turn that down? I quickly came up with a few side options that he could help me prepare. Our first attempt to fix something from start to finish together (I mean, occasionally he’s helped me dump in flour or other recipe ingredients, but usually holds short-lived interest) was mac n’ cheese from a box.

Waiting for the water to boil was the hardest part. He grabbed a chair to stand next to me and threw in the butter, milk and faux, powdered cheese. As he stirred the pot, squeals of joy and grunts of satisfaction came out of his mouth.

“I’m gonna eat all my mac n’ cheese gone! Daddy! Come quick! Look at what me and Mama made!”

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So proud. And did you catch those amazing aprons?! The matching adult apron says “Head Chef.” They were a Father’s Day present for Steven this year, who truly is Head Chef in the kitchen. He nearly orders me to sit when he prepares a meal.

This past weekend was a flurry of birthday parties, cake and sugar rushes. We had to cut out early from yesterday afternoon’s party, and Wes had a meltdown in the car because he didn’t get a piece of Levon’s birthday cake. I felt awful because I mistakenly didn’t give him a 2-minute heads up before we left, which better helps him navigate the leaving-whatever-I’m-currently-doing process. In other words, it prevents a meltdown.

I made a deal in the car: if he actually slept during rest time (which is a whole ‘nuther subject – this outgrowing of naps before he’s ready to outgrow them), I’d make a cake to eat after dinner. He held up his end of the bargain and took a solid gold nap.

PROOF:
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After some serious snuggling, Wes declared that he’d like to help me make the cake. He pulled up a chair next to the counter, clamored up close to me and did a very decent job of dumping ingredients, stirring and holding the hand mixer. We even made homemade frosting, which was a messy, yummy task! I think I was redeemed from my earlier mistake.

Because of the last few successes, I decided to pull out a Mommy & Me cookbook given to me as a hand-me-down from a friend. While on the drive home from school, I asked Wes if he’d like to help me make dinner tonight, and his excitement was adorable.

The recipes in this book are totally unhealthy and full of canned and preserved ingredients, but it sure was fun to spend 20 minutes prepping food with Wesley this evening. And cheesy tater tots never taste bad.

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Posted: August 31st, 2015
Categories: Leah
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(500) Seconds* of Summer

*8.3333 minutes

I’d love to say that we spent a fantastic summer visiting the beach or picking up new hobbies. But truthfully, it’s been a hot mess. That’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed family time, birthdays, anniversaries or our home adjustment. I just feel like I blinked (or sweat) it all away.

Here’s the last 6 weeks in a nutshell.

Wesley’s birthday:
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T-Ball practices:
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Yardwork:
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Painting the Dining Room, Entry and Stairwell:
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See those frames in the dining room? To remember our first home, I pressed and framed a few clippings from our former garden.

Multiple trips to home improvement stores:

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Indiana State Fair:
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Visiting family:
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Lots of grandparents and cousins and Grandma’s new condo pool.

8th Wedding Anniversary (on the same day we sold/closed on the old house):
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Fondue takes forever to eat, especially after a long and draining day of house closing.

Family time:
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Wes made mac n’ cheese! He learned chess! (Look at that crazy wall in the background before it was painted!) Jake loves sitting at the dinner table, and that might be my favorite photo of the summer! Ice cream for ages!

Lounging, in between everything else:
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Summer Projects:
List old house on the market
Stage old house for showings

Old house upkeep and maintenance
Repair rear fence (TABLED: Maybe it’s a spring project…)
Remove wallpaper: Entry/Stairwell

Remove wallpaper: Family Room
Remove wallpaper: Dining Room – in progress
Remove wallpaper: 1/2 Bath (TABLED: Steven has hinted enough that he actually likes the wallpaper!)
Remove wallpaper: 3rd Bedroom – in progress
Weeding & landscaping – in progress
Paint grout in entry
Paint: Master + Bath, Entry/Stairwell, Dining Room, Family Room
Buy dehumidifier for basement
Additional runner for upstairs hallway
Sofa slipcover in Living Room (TABLED: I’ve had enough people tell me it’s endearing to see Grandma’s old sleeper sofa in all its 1995 patterned glory. It will stay for now.)
Replace entry light fixture
Replace toilet seat in Master Bath
Remove bee nests on front porch
Poison ivy removal
Recover kitchen banquettes

Here’s what I’ve learned this summer:
1) I wore my hair in a ponytail every day.
2) I am spoiled to think that a vacation=summer. Look what fun we did have!
3) I miss painting canvases. A few times I was able to tear myself away from “being productive” and have started a different sort of anniversary collage painting.
4) I underestimated our ability to pack up and move on so smoothly. No, not that it wasn’t hard to physically move and get settled, but we haven’t been sappy or remorseful over our decisions.

And now, look at this giant boy who started PreK-4! Trudging onward.
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Posted: August 28th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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