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Monday, November 30, 2009

Leo's been here 19 months

I can’t believe I thought getting him to sit in a chair and pose prior to 19 months was challenging. Today wasn’t just challenging; it was impossible! The problem is that he really wants to see what’s on the camera so as soon as I’ve got him seated and then I get out the camera, he jumps off the chair to come see the picture. “I haven’t taken the picture yet, Leo” doesn’t seem to resonate with him. So this is the best I could do.

This is what happens to the back of his hair when he rolls around in this chair!

Okay, before I ramble on about all the cute things Leo says, I want to point out (or brag about, really) what I think is the most amazing thing about his verbal skills: I knew toddlers were sponges but I guess I thought you had to drill things into their heads and repeat them over and over. But Leo picks things up so fast. Like the other day we were at the mall and maybe I mentioned in the car that we were going to the mall, I’m not sure. But the whole time we were there he said, “Mall, mall, mall!” And we don’t go there that often! And the other day when we were leaving Target he said, “Bye bye, Tah-get.” I know I didn’t say we were going into Target!

Okay, now onto more bragging:

He’s putting phrases together like “I had it,” “I did it,” “I missed” and “I made it” (which he says with a Georgia accent “Ah Mayde it!”).

When we drive into our driveway he says, “Ee-oh’s House.”

He’s saying his own name more but it’s usually “Ee-oh.” If you ask him directly, “What you’re name?” he still says, “No-no-Ee-oh.”

He surprises us with new words all the time. Like the other day I was changing his diaper and he said, “Wipies!”

He basically repeats everything we say and yesterday he repeated a bad word for the first time. I never thought this would be a problem because we really don’t swear that often. But we were in the kitchen and I stepped in something sticky. I realized that I had forgotten to buy Swiffer wet wipes at the grocery store so I said, “Sh*#!” Leo immediately said, “Sh*#!” Then I said, “Aw, man!” and he said, “Aw, man!”

When he wants to get up onto the couch or onto a chair or just be picked up he says, “Mama” over and over again: “Mama-mama-mama-mama.” It doesn’t matter who’s there.

Anytime he sees a longhorn or an orange t-shirt that says Texas, he says “Texas bite.”
He can also say “Bevo.”

When we say, “What does Santa say?” he says “Ho ho ho” but really quietly.

He’s still obsessed with balls but now he has all these rules to the games. The problem is, we don’t know the rules. So he’ll throw us a football, for example, and we’ll throw it back. He screams. We do know that we’re not supposed to throw from a sitting down position but that’s all we’ve figured out.

When he throws the football down he yells, “touchdown!” and throws his hands in the air.

Other ball games he enjoys: basketball, kick ball, bat/ball and t-ball.

He’s found Jesus. Or “Jeez” as he calls him. Granny Jo got him some Catholic books and they are all about Jesus. One of them has a ball in a picture so he calls that book “Keek ball.” But the other one he calls “Jeez.” And if he sees a picture of Jesus he says, “Hi, Jeez!”

He’s still thinks every little baby is his cousin, Baby Ellie. We were in the car, sitting at a stop light and he suddenly said, “Baby Ah-yee!” We looked and saw an ad on a bus stop with a picture of a baby. When we drove away he kept saying, “Bye bye, Baby Ah-yee!” There’s also a picture of Baby Moses in his Jeez book that he calls “Baby Ah-yee.”

He loves to read books and he memorizes them so fast! Grandmother (“Rah Rah”) got him “Pat the Cat” which is the sequel to “Pat the Bunny” and he already knows what’s coming next. Today at naptime I asked him what he wanted to read and he said, “Pat Cat!”

When he throws a ball and wants one of us to get it, he says, “Mama get” or “Dada get.” We’re trying to work “please” into this command.

He doesn’t like things out of place and always says “uh-oh” if things aren’t just so. For instance, when he puts blankets into a basket he says “uh-oh” when part of the blanket is falling over the side.

Belly buttons are still an obsession. He calls it “Beh Button” and he likes to show his and see other people’s. This is awkward when it’s a stranger.

Loves “Scubas” (School Buses). Just got a toy one from Tia Kristin and he likes to push it around with his collection of Little People. This includes the bus driver, the dump truck driver (Dump Truck Dave) and the boat captain (Captain Michael). We call them non-traditional students.

Granny Jo started scratching his back when she was here and now he requests it: “Scatch Back!” he says and he just goes into a trance when we do it.

He’s got a whole repertoire of songs and he’s very particular about which ones he wants to sing. Just today he started singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider but when I joined in, he said, “NO!” and held his hands up in the Twinkle Twinkle sign. So we had to switch gears.

And just in case you thought this kid was perfect, I’ll tell you some of the not-so-great things he does:

• While he’s really good at using a spoon, he sometimes requests to use one at weird times—like with finger food.
• He often spits out his food. This would make sense if he didn’t like it but he spits it out and does the sign for “more.” I think he’s on some Hollywood diet.
• He has melt downs. Today he’s been on-and-off melting down all morning. I think he misses the Thanksgiving company.
• When he’s having a melt down he insists that I hold him and stand up. If I try to put him down, he does this thing we call “floaty legs” where he won’t put his feet on the ground. And I wouldn’t mind holding him if we could sit in a chair and rock but that only makes him scream more.
• It’s not as easy to take him to restaurants anymore. He has melt downs there too.
• He’s scared of inflatables. We gotta work on that.

Happy 19 months, Leo!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Strike a Pose

When we tell Leo to "Say Cheese," he doesn't just smile. He gets this huge grin, squints his eyes, throws back his head and says, "CHEEEEEEESE!" Here are some of our favorite cheesy faces from this month:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mexicaning it up in the Morning

I woke up at 5:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. I decided to be productive and make breakfast. My parents are visiting so I had more mouths to sample my cooking than just Frank (who always says he'd rather sleep in than have a big breakfast).

I remembered that I had some leftover hashbrowns in the freezer. I considered serving hash browns, sausage and eggs. But that's so many pans! I wondered, is there such a thing as a breakfast casserole with hash browns? I thought I had made one before but I couldn't remember how it worked.

Curious, I got out of bed and headed to the information superhighway for answers.

I found some breakfast casserole that called for sausage, eggs and hashbrowns and some other hum-drum ingredients. While this recipe was lame, it did give me a good starting point for what would eventually be known as:

Elsa's Mexi-Morning Casserole!

You see, Mexicaning things up isn't exclusive to lunch or dinner. You can absolutely get muy creativo in la manana.

My inspiration was this cilantro I had on hand for another recipe. When I saw that I thought, "Let's Mexican this bad boy" (or something to that effect; it was early). I started pulling out all the Mexican stuff--the salsa, the peppers, the onion. Oh, if only I had had some avocado!

So I whipped up my Mexi-Morning Casserole before everyone even woke up. Here's what people are saying (and by people, I mean my parents, Frank and Leo):

"This is really good. And I'm not just saying that."

"This is delicious. I think I'll make it for my book club brunch."

"I like it! I'm gonna have seconds!"

"Belly Button."

Now, I made it with vegetarian sausage but you can certainly use any sort of sausage you like. And since it was early I forgot to add spices but it may be good with cumin or crushed red pepper too.

And with that, I give you:

Elsa’s Mexi-Morning Casserole

4 Vegetarian Sausage Patties
6 eggs
2 cups salsa
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
12 oz. hash browns, frozen
½ cup diced green peppers
¼ cup diced onions
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Thaw hash browns either in pan or in microwave. Heat sausage in microwave according to package instructions. Chop into small bites. Set aside. In large bowl beat eggs and milk together then add peppers, onions, cilantro, sausage and salsa. Put hash browns on the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 inch pan, pour egg mixture on top and cover with cheese. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
It went so fast, this was the only picture I could get!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frat Party

Leo had a good time with his boys yesterday--showing off belly buttons, watching school buses, wearing matching outfits, riding on his dump truck and it all ended with a manly embrace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have you met the Nuh-nos?

For awhile now, Leo has been into Elmo (or “Nuh-no” as he calls him). He first met Elmo in the book Elmo’s Book of Feelings. It seems like Elmo pops up everywhere—in other books, in the bathtub and even on his diapers.

So we bought this used stuffed Elmo at a consignment sale. Then Uncle Mark got Leo a "Tickle Me Elmo." Now he’s like an Elmo fanatic.

Frank needed to distinguish between the two Elmos so he called the smaller one “Baby Elmo.” Leo loved that name and always asks for “Baby Nuh-no.” He likes how “Tickle Nuh-no” laughs (he imitates him and it’s so cute!) but when it comes to dragging something around, it’s Baby Nuh-no all the way.

Before naptime and bedtime Leo puts both Elmos to bed by putting blankets over them on the floor. However, he recently decided that Baby Nuh-no needs to sleep about three feet away from Tickle Elmo. He says, “Night night, Nuh-no!” He often puts them to bed even when it’s not bedtime. Those Nuh-nos sure sleep a lot.

He doesn’t sleep with either Nuh-no yet but if he ever wants to, we’re pushing for Baby Nuh-no. We can’t risk him waking up after rolling over onto Tickle Me Elmo—“Hahahahaha…that tickles!!”

"Historic Value"

As Frank and I drove the five + hours to Charleston, SC this weekend, we were curious if our Hotwire-booked hotel room would be nice. Sure, it was a “boutique” hotel which usually means hip and upscale. However, it could also mean old and small. Plus, we had read on their website that they had awesome suites with views of downtown as well as “historic value rooms” (with no views mentioned).

So naturally, we ended up with the historic value room. Before I complain, though, I’ll tell you its good points:

It was very clean.
It was updated.
It had a flat screen TV.
It was in a great location.

Now let me tell the downside:

It was small.

Yes, we were expecting small but we weren’t expecting smaller than Leo’s nursery, possibly smaller than my mid-sized SUV.

It had no view.

Now when I say, “it had no view” I don’t mean I’m some sort of diva who expects to see a skyline or a body of water. I would settle for an alley. No, when I say “it had no view,” I mean it had no window that we could see out of.

One window was an interior window that looked out into the hotel hallway. The other one was a tiny way-up-high window that was just there for fire codes. See?

But since I rank my priorities as clean, good location, view, I was really okay with the good old historic value room. I think it's my duty, though, to invite you to add that term to your list of hotel room euphemisms so you have it in your mind next time you're booking a trip. Now you can include "historic value" with other well-known hotel room euphemisms like “charming,” “quaint” and “basic.”

Oh, and always beware if they’re hyping up minimal amenities like “hot water!” “A/C!” "shampoo!" "hairdryer!" and “free Bible in every room!”

Come to think of it, our room didn’t come with a Bible. If only we had booked a "religious value room..."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Haul out the Holly

Christmas came early this year with a gift from Granny Jo (and Popsy)! Granny Jo hid in the half bath and Leo and I went looking for her. When I opened the door, there was Granny Jo sitting on a ride-along dump truck! She said, “Surprise!” and scooted out of the bathroom. Leo was a little taken aback but once Granny Jo said, “It’s for you!” he perked up and now we can’t get him off the thing.

He loves the fact that he can ride it, push it, put blocks in it AND take "Baby Nuh-no" for a ride on the back.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The evolution of a germaphobe

I used to mock germaphobes: “Ha! Look at that guy who washes his hands and then uses a paper towel to open the bathroom door. What a weirdo!” I wouldn’t say I was the total opposite of a germaphobe (because that would make me just dirty I guess). But I didn’t have germs on my radar. My theory was that since I rarely got sick, I must be doing something right. And maybe coming into contact with germs (like the ones on the bathroom door handle) were actually building up my immunity.

So I was living the germ-naive life until two things happened:

1. I had a kid.
2. I saw an episode of 20/20.

It feels like kids can get sick just by looking at a germ. And a sick kid is just miserable (for both the kid and the parent). So whenever Leo is battling something I think, “What made him sick? Was it the kids at the Y? Was it the grocery store? Was it that blade of grass he dragged in from outside? I’ll do everything in my power to prevent this from ever happening again!”

And that’s when I started going a little crazy with the Clorox wipes. I’m wiping light switches, remotes, counter tops, the high chair, all of Leo’s toys, doorknobs, the fridge handle, the trash cans…I think I might have Clorox wiped a dog who walked by.

I also got a hold of this cool hand sanitizing spray. I spray Leo’s hands and my hands. We say, “Spray, spray, rub rub.” I think we spray, spray, rub, rub about 23 times a day.

Speaking of hands, it was the 20/20 episode that got me on that band wagon. The reporter put his hands under a bacteria detector thing and his hands were gross! They had things on them that looked like fungi and algae and all sorts of other g’s.

Now I just assume my hands have all sorts of microscopic foreign matter on them. I wash them so much they’re all red and cracked.

I don’t enjoy being a germaphobe. I’m hoping I can go back to being just germ-aware after flu season is over. Then I’ll only wash my hands after using the bathroom and before I eat—not necessarily because I touched a doorknob.

But those Clorox wipes, I really like those. I don’t know if I can give those up. I might need a support group.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kissin' Cousins

Leo was first-cousinless until a few weeks ago when Baby Elizabeth Maureen Simcik was born to Uncle "Safety Dave" and Aunt Laura on 10/17. Leo has only met Baby Ellie through Skype twice and seen some of her pictures on the computer. Still, he can't stop talking about her. Sometimes he just randomly shouts, "Baby Ah-yee!"

Yesterday I told him Granny Jo was coming to visit and he said, "Baby Ah-yee?" I think he thinks Granny Jo is going to bring Baby Ellie since they were on Skype together. And when we got on Skype to call Frank's parents, we said, "Leo, who are we going to call?" He said, "Baby Ah-yee!"

He thinks every baby is Baby Ellie--babies in books, babies out in public and a birth announcement we have on our fridge of Baby Celia. Sorry, Courtney and John, we don't bother correcting him! It's easier just to go along with it:

And here she is, beautiful Baby Ellie! We all can't wait to meet Baby Ah-yee at Christmas!

Friday, November 06, 2009


When Leo says, "Scuba!" it doesn't mean he's ready for deep-sea diving. (Thank goodness because I have no interest in ever doing that). It means "School Bus." He's really into those big yellow things. He spots them when we're in the car all the time: "Scuba!" And he's making the connection that the "Scuba" is what we're singing about in "The Wheels on The Bus."

I think I've bragged about this before but Leo can do all the moves to the Wheels on the Bus unprompted! I just say, "The wheels on the bus go" and he does this motion with his hands like he's trying to roll them. And when I say, "The babies on the bus say" he puts his hands up to his eyes and says "Wah Wah Wah." He swishes his hands for the wipers, opens and closes his arms for the doors, bobs up and down for the kids, shushes for the mommies and beeps for the horn. Oh, and the best is the driver who says "Move on back." Leo throws his hand forward and just says, "Moo."

But you'll have to take my word for it because I cannot seem to get it on camera! Here, I've got a little bit of "scuba" followed by one verse of "wheels on the bus" which ends with a bunch of "no, no, no."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

New Take on Totally

Thanks to my friendtasy from The Hills, Lo, I've got a super cool new catch phrase: "Toats McGoats."

It means, simply, "totally."

Lo rivals Liz with her clever language. Although Lo is a real faux celeb and Liz is a faux faux celeb.

So Lo was listening to Audrina ramble on about some drama with Kristin and Lo responded with "Toats."

And if that wasn't cool enough already, she added "McGoats."

I, personally, love adding "Mc" to things. For instance, I call Frank "Sweaty" and I often add "McBetty." I can't think of any other examples but I plan to do it more often.

I also have another Lo-ish term I use a lot: If I think something is ridiculous or silly I say "Sils." Like "You're sils" or "That's sils" or sometimes I just say, "sils."

I can see Lo saying that. Totally. I mean toats mcgoats.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Too Hot v. Too Cold

It’s starting to get a little cold here in Atlanta and as always, when temps start to change, my mind returns to the age-old question: Would I rather be really hot or really cold?

To me, this is more perplexing than the chicken or the egg. I cannot come up with a good answer. Now if you’re not someone who often wonders about your preferences for hot v. cold but you want to become that person, let me give you this warning: do not pose the question while under extreme temperatures—neither hot nor cold. If you do, you won’t find a true answer. If you ask yourself if you’d rather be hot or cold on the 4th of July at 2pm in Dallas, Texas, you’re definitely gonna go with arctic conditions. If you ask the question on February 23rd while wearing a t-shirt in Durango, Colorado (little plug for my Durango family!) you’re gonna wish it were Dallas on 4th of July. It's kinda like going to the grocery store when you're really hungry.

But now is a good time to ask the question—at least if you’re here in Atlanta. It’s in the 60s. It’s pretty nice. So let’s break it down with a good old pro/con list:

Really Hot:

Pros: You can wear very little clothing. You can always cool off in a pool. Sweat sometimes makes for good styling gel. Good excuse to drink cold drinks like beer and margaritas.

Cons: The extreme sweating ruins make-up, can destroy a hair-do (for those of us who are major head sweaters) and can make you look silly if you’re prone to armpit stains. And as Frank says, “You can always put on more clothes. You can only take off so many.” (He is a vocal proponent of “really cold.”)

Really Cold:
Pros: Like Frank said, you can always put on more clothes. Hair always looks good. Cold air gives face that pinkish glow (hot air does that too, actually). Good excuse to drink warm drinks like hot chocolate and cider.

Cons: dry skin, chapped lips, shaking, overall miserableness.

Well this didn’t help one bit. In general, I prefer warmer temps and everything that goes with that but we’re not talking about warm, we’re talking about hot. And I’ve left several UT football games because I was too hot. But cold…ugh. Being really cold is just plain awful.

Now I’m no closer to my answer AND I have that Katy Perry song stuck in my head: “You’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no…”

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Scenes from Halloween

We were pumped because of the Saturday Halloween. However, we weren’t so pumped when it started to rain and get cold. We had no “plan B” for Leo’s not-so-covering basketball outfit. So while I was setting up for the neighborhood Halloween party, Frank scrambled and stuck a red shirt and PJ pants under Leo’s costume. It worked in his favor though. In the costume contest (in which every child wins an award), Leo won for “coolest costume.”

With Mama and Dada (our UT clothes always work well on Halloween)!

With Tigger (BFF John)

"Why can't I walk on the swimming pool cover?"

"Cheese!" (Speaking of, John and Leo chowed down on cheese pizza!)

Hugging John...who could resist? He's so cuddly in that tiger outfit!

We were reminiscing about how last year, John and Leo wore their matching PJs and giggled on the floor. Flashback to Halloween 2008!