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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Two Friends + Two Birthdays = FOUR!!

Leo's BFF John turned four on 4/13. He was planning to have his party at the YMCA and he was nice enough to let Leo (who is turning four on 4/30) do a joint birthday with him. What a special way to spend his last birthday in his native Georgia!

The kids played basketball and soccer in the gym and then had pizza and cake in the "teen center." They had a blast and I'm sure all slept well last night. Here are some pics from our first-borns' four-year-old double birthday party:

I'm glad he can do this since, for awhile there, I thought we were going to have to call him "Goalie" for the rest of his life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Whatever happened to Cookinggal?

I love it when publications or news magazine shows run "Whatever happened to?" or "Where are they now?" pieces. It basically means "This person was once really successful and now he or she is a loser. Let's check in and see what he or she is doing that will undoubtedly seem quite pathetic when you compare it to the height of their career."

Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles is a popular one. He was the hunk of the moment and then he was gone. Apparently he makes and sells furniture now. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But the dude was Jake Ryan. Come on.

Anyway, I thought I'd do a "Whatever happened to?" about Cookinggal:

She first made her appearance on the blog in 2005. She was my alter ego of sorts. (And now that I've admitted that I will stop talking about her in the third person.) I went from not knowing how to brown meat to making meat loaf to following recipes to baking to CREATING recipes! From 2005 to about 2008 I evolved into this amazing (or perhaps just decent) cook. I loved trying out new recipes. I loved sharing recipes. I loved tweaking recipes and even being the authority on all things Mexican. My mom even got me a Cookinggal apron for Christmas one year.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Cookinggal started to fizzle. Or maybe it was April 30th, 2008 when Cookinggal took on another role--Mommygal. (So maybe it's not too hard to pinpoint.) Sure, I still cooked but I guess I didn't make anything worth blogging about. But let's face it, I didn't do as much blogging either.

So where has Cookinggal been from 2008 to 2012? Well, she's been changing diapers, calming tantrums, potty training, driving to school/classes/parties/playgroups, giving baths. And when she (there I go again with the third person)...I DO cook, it's usually mac and cheese or "eggs I may pick up with my hands." (The latter I don't really cook. I just heat up Nancy's petite quiches in the microwave but Leo calls it cooking.)

But I've decided now that I have two kids and one of them seems like he may be a promising eater, I will cook again. I will try to make meals that the whole family can eat--something hearty enough for Frank, healthy enough for me, basic enough for Leo and edible enough for Gus. Yes, Cookinggal's got her (my) work cut out for me. But I'm ready to don that apron again. In fact, I put it on just the other day. And this time I had a very helpful assistant--Cookingboy (although he prefers to be called "The Baker's Man.") Even he knows how to brown meat. Well, not really but he can stir a mean muffin mix.

I'm raising a new generation of cookers. Not the pathetic ending you were hoping for, huh?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gus has been here ten months

Gus may have a chill attitude but he’s also always on the go. He’s a crawling machine now and wants to get into everything. His first word still might be “whatever” but his first sentence will be “I want that.” He wants to grab everything and he’s not pleased unless he’s holding something (which usually goes promptly into his mouth).

Speaking of crawling, many have commented that Gus doesn’t do the “proposal scoot” or “boot scootin’ boogie” like Leo did. This is where Leo would crawl with one knee up and one knee down. Update as of this week: Gus DOES do it! He doesn’t do it all the time, but sometimes. I have yet to capture it on video but it’s very cute.

Gus is so busy racing around and trying to climb the stairs (he can get up about three steps!) that he’s not really into baby sign language or clapping or any of those communication milestones. I try to ask him if he wants more food by doing the sign and he just barks as if to say, “Of course I want more, lady! Hand it over!” So he does have his ways of communicating; they’re just sort of cave-man like.

He eats anything. However, spoon-feeding is tough because he just wants to grab the spoon and do it himself. It’s such a nuisance that consequently, he’s very advanced with finger food. (At least more than Leo was at this age…or even at Leo’s age now). When I make lunch for Gus and me when Leo’s at school, we pretty much eat the same thing. (He shares my love of sandwiches and hummus.) The only thing he doesn’t seem to like is avocado. Isn’t that weird?

If I can just brag about one more area in which Gus is advanced, I’d like to tell you about his train/car/truck playing. He already moves them just like a kid does; he chugs! When I asked Leo what he did at the YMCA playcenter today he said he and Gus played this and he and Gus played that. They can already play together thanks to Gus’ superior playing skills.

So to sum up, Gus is adorable. He smiles all the time and I feel like he’s saying, “I’m thrilled!” He’s just thrilled about everything—about toys, about climbing, about people and especially about his big brother. And we are thrilled that he’s been here ten months!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Thank you, Easter Bunny

This was a very monumental Easter for the Simcik family--
1. It was Gus' first Easter!
2. It was our last Easter in Roswell.
3. Our nine year wedding anniversary fell the day before Good Friday.

So here you'll see pics of Easter morning, our traditional anniversary pic (this time with a new family member!) and then Easter brunch with John and Etienne's families. Sorry for the lack of Gus pics but he'll be featured this week when he turns ten months old!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Fool's Gold

I don't know about your town but around here, there are a lot of "We Buy Gold!" shops. In fact, there are more popping up every day. There's one by my house that I thought was just a regular jewelry store (even has "diamond" in the title) but they've got an obnoxious sandwich sign in the parking lot about how they're just dying to buy my gold. And I hear lots of radio ads about "We'll buy your gold! It's okay if it's damaged or old!" (Okay, that's not the exact wording but they might want to use that if they come across this.)

Now I get that there could be establishments that sell jewelry AND buy it. But when a place pushes the "buying" part that hard, it makes me suspicious. I mean, a business can't survive from buying alone. So is the catch that they want you to come in to sell your gold and then they sell you some more gold and/or jewels?

I've decided to launch a full on investigation of this alleged gold scheme. And by "alleged" I mean I'm the one making the allegations and by "investigation" I mean I am going to Google it. Right now.

Okay, I'm back from my sleuthing. I was right that it's a con but wrong about why. They want to buy your gold and pay you less than what it's worth. You're thinking, "But I don't know how much it's worth." That's what they're counting on.

I had trouble even finding information on the internet about it because when you Google things like "We Buy Gold Scams" all you find are all these websites that talk about why they're the best place for your gold dealings and why the others are scams.

Oh, and the gold-selling parties might be fun but they're shady too. Sure, it's cool to walk away with $100 but what if you could really get $200? One article I read said it's better to shop around locally and see who will you give you the best deal. This is preferable to mail-in places. Mail-in? I don't have any fancy gold jewelry but I sure wouldn't send what I do have through the mail and expect to get top dollar.

I hope that my expose on the gold-buying industry has opened your eyes, both to the scandal that's behind those sandwich signs and to the blood, sweat and tears it takes to work in the field of investigative blogging.

Me and my "Baby" Brother

To Leo, Gus is more than a brother, he's a full-on playmate. The other day Leo tried to get Gus to "hide from mommy" with him under his comforter. Gus is such a good sport that I think Leo forgets (or doesn't quite understand) that's he's a baby.

Here they are climbing the pillow mountain:

At Leo's last day at his TEDDY study, pretending he and Gus are pirates. When I took Gus to feed him, Leo said, "Don't take my baby pirate away!"

Pretending to be train workers, digging in coal, according to Leo.
Just goofing around
Playing in Fort Little Table:
I think I was wrong. It's Gus who forgets he's just a baby!