Today was a beautiful day! Simon and I were meeting up with some of our new friends from the local PTA for a morning at the zoo. I love that we live close enough that we can go for a few hours anytime we want, especially since we have a family membership. Today we arrived right when they opened with the plan of walking around for a few hours and heading home for lunch. A few were planning on having a picnic at the zoo but I knew that if we would have eaten there and stayed past noon Simon would have fallen asleep in the car. Once that happens, I rarely can get him to take an afternoon nap.
Because of the unusually warm weather we're having right now (it was 82 degrees today!) all the animals are out enjoying the sunshine and breathing in the fresh air. Our first stop is always the elephants. They have a nice new habitat with lots of space for the elephants to roam and lots of viewing opportunities for the zoo patrons. We had a few moms who were running late so it was just Simon and his friend Asher for a while. The elephants were interesting but both boys were more interested in just walking around. Next stop was the lions and Mr. Lion was out on pride rock sunning himself like there was no tomorrow. He was truly enjoying the warmth like any self respecting kitty. We headed to the Australia area and got to see some wallabies jumping around. Our zoo adventure rounded out with seeing some giraffes, tigers, and bears. By that time it was almost noon and time for us to head home. Of course, Simon still fell asleep in the car on the way home and then struggled to take a nap after lunch.
It was a fun morning. Looking forward to going again soon, this time we'll make a point to get to the back of the zoo to see the Big Cat and Primate building. This is only one of many zoo adventures to come this summer.
Simon broke a huge hole through the screen that goes to our sliding glass doors so I re-screened it tonight. I used pet screen to hopefully hold him in.
Okay, maybe I'm being a bit overconfident but I'm rather proud of the fact that I figured out how to download the correct mac software and have just checked out my first downloadable MP3 ebook from the local library. Hooray!
On the recommendation of one of the bloggers I follow (I can't for the life of me figure out which one though) I started reading the book "Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living." It's an interesting read so far and it really has me thinking about my priorities and making time for more important things. It talks about how "stuff" can start to take over your life and make it more stressful and chaotic. By deciding what is really important to you and getting rid of or eliminating things those things that aren't as important you make room for what is a higher priority for you and your family. It talks about what it means to live simply and there are parts of the book that weren't for me - like coming up with a family purpose/mission statement in order to make simple living personal. I'm a list maker, but that just isn't my style. Instead I made a mental list of what things I wanted to do more of and what things I could do less of -
Things to Add/Increase:
quality time with Jeff
Things to Eliminate/Decrease:
mindless internet surfing
At the moment the decrease list is pretty sparse but just those 2 things eat up more time than I'm comfortable with. Take tv watching for example. I'm really good about monitoring how much tv my son watches - he gets to watch about 45 minutes in the mornings and evenings and that's it. With the warmer weather we've had this week, the morning session was skipped at least 3 times so I anticipate that we'll drop morning tv in the summer. I'm not so good at monitoring my own television habits. Lately I've fallen into the trap of watching tv during the 2-2.5 hours that Simon is napping. Add that to the tv we watch in the evenings - a half hour of world news, maybe a 30 minute sit-com, and an hour long drama and you've got roughly 4 hours a day in front of the tv. That's 20 hours in a given work week. That's 20 hours that I can be devoting to other pursuits.
I'm not saying that I'm going to cut tv out of my life. Jeff and I got rid of cable when we moved back to Ohio and we don't really miss it too much. There are times where it would be nice to have but it's not critical. What I am saying is that I want to be a bit more particular about the shows I decide to watch. There are the "can't miss, love 'em" shows like Modern Family, Happy Endings, Parenthood, Castle, Once Upon a Time, and Fringe. I'm fine with out adding any new shows. The biggest change I want to make right now is decreasing the daytime shows. I'm sure there are days that I'd just rather curl up on the couch while Simon sleeps and watch The Chew and that's fine. It can be a treat, not just something to do or have on in the background. When I was single I tended to use the tv as background noise and it can be a hard habit to break. With the time I gain in the afternoons I want to read more, blog more, listen to books on CD while knitting, and exercise. Tomorrow begins day one.
Simon is not adventurous at all when it comes to food. If it's not a food that he's already familiar with he'll avoid it on his plate and usually refuse to even try it. I'm happy to say that I've gotten him to try a few new foods this week --
After more than 10 years of having a checking account with Key I finally had to end my relationship with my bank due to inactivity fees. Am I a little sad about it, yes. But not for the fact that I worked there for almost 8 years, taught many call center agents all the major banking systems, and still seem to know more about Hogan and CE Desktop than most of the current tellers. No, I'm sad because I have to give up my beloved debit card. The one that I know by heart and never have to dig my card out of my wallet to make an online purchase. The one that I even used to teach some Key Bank associates how to service debit cards (and whom an agent accidentally reversed an debit card authorization once!). Yes, I'll miss you my trusty debit card friend. We had a good run.
I grew up having some of the best meatballs ever, thanks to my italian grandparents. There's nothing like the smell of a fresh vat of sauce and meatballs cooking on the stove. The meatballs were always made of beef so when I met my husband who doesn't eat red meat or pork I needed to find a good recipe that used turkey or chicken. I've experimented a lot in the last few years and I really paid attention to the batch that I made this evening so I could write it down. Now don't laugh, but most of the ingredient measurements are in handfuls. Not exactly technical, but it seems to be consistent for me and less things to wash once I'm done! Enjoy!
Baked Turkey Meatballs
A few things to mention - don't use ground turkey breast otherwise they will come out too dry. I use 93% lean ground turkey as a personal preference. There are 2 different types of cheese - fresh ground parmesan and dried canister parmesan. I really like the flavor that parmesan imparts to these meatballs but I've found that if you use too much fresh there is too much moisture and the meatballs don't stay together as well. Using the dried gives you an extra flavor boost without compromising the structural integrity of the meatball. These freeze well. I just put them in a freezer ziplock bag and then take out as many as I need.
3 handfuls of plain panko breadcrumbs
2-3 pinches of coarse kosher salt
2-3 pinches of fresh ground black pepper
1 handful of fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 handful of canister dried grated parmesan cheese (like Kraft in the green canister)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, grated on large holes of box grater
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1-2 eggs (I use egg beaters)
1 lb. ground turkey (I use 93% lean, not ground turkey breast)
I've always suffered from migraine headaches and back in 2001 I was diagnosed with acute viral labyrinthitis that lasted for almost 2 months. At that time I was informed that once you sustain a balance system injury, it never truly heals and that your brain just learns to adapt and bouts of vertigo are to be expected. I've been lucky enough to be symptom free for years between episodes. The next episode I had was in 2005 - the only reason I remember the year is because it was the weekend of my brother's wedding. After that I was symptom free for another 3 years when it got really bad. Jeff made some some detailed posts about how we saw this amazing neurologist that reminded us of the Indian version of Dr. House that you can read here and here.
My doctor determined that my migraines tend to have vertigo symptoms and are linked to my hormones. I was very fortunate to not have any episodes during my pregnancy when my hormones were all out of whack. I think I started getting some headaches again about 6 months after Simon was born. In the last few days I've been experiencing some symptoms again and while it's not full blown vertigo I need to be careful. One of my first warning signs is a weird tingling/fuzziness in my head, similar to what you feel when your foot falls asleep only it's in my head. It only lasts about 5 seconds but it really freaks me out and I know that things are going to happen. True to past experiences, I had the brain tingling yesterday morning and it developed into a headache yesterday afternoon. I can't seem to shake this headache but sleep and staying away from eye straining activities like being on the computer, reading, and knitting definitely help. So after I make this post I need to unplug for a few days.
I'm hoping symptoms don't progress enough that I need to go back and see my amazing doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, but there's definitely a comfort in knowing that he's only a phone call away and a short trip across town.
Things have been so busy that I still haven't blogged about Simon's 2nd birthday. Jeff had a great post that really summed it up but here are a few of my own thoughts:
1. Time with a baby/toddler is so weird. When they're first born it seems like the hours when a baby should be sleeping fly by and then time slows/stops when they're fussing and you're wondering if you can stay awake long enough for that next feeding, diaper change, or whatever. Then as they get beyond that helpless infant stage into curious baby stage the days themselves can seem really long but somehow the weeks and months fly by.
2. Thank goodness Jeff documented and wrote about what happened in the hospital when Simon was born because some of it is just so fuzzy to me. I vividly remember walking into the hospital and checking in at the triage desk, and walking into the cold operating room and receiving the spinal block (they had to stick me twice), and having the doctor tug and pull on my belly yet not feel it. After that some of the events are a blur. After Simon was born my first glimpse of him was on a table across the room - I could see his little purple feet. Once he was bundled up Jeff brought him over to me and held him near my face so I could see him and give him a kiss. After that, I'm not sure anymore what order things happened. Jeff had to feed him right away and they couldn't wait for me. I honestly don't remember how long it was before I was able to hold Simon for the first time. I guess I'd lost more blood than they expected and you can see how pale I was in the pictures. I had some hemorrhaging that sort of freaked Jeff out. I remember that there was all sorts of drama and crying (me and Simon both) upon our check out of the hospital but I can't remember any specifics. We finally said screw it and walked out of the hospital, which ended up being a much longer walk that I was technically ready for but we just wanted to get home.
3. Watching Simon change almost daily is so much fun and as much as I enjoy being his mom, it is more exhausting that I ever imagined. I am continually in awe of anyone who has more than one child!
4. Even though I tend to stress out over party planning (I want everything to be done ahead of time and perfect so I can also enjoy the party) I enjoyed Simon's birthday party this past Sunday and look forward to planning future parties for him. I think the Sesame Street theme was fun and festive and I didn't go overboard.
5. The biggest thing for me is that we each day Simon's communication skills are improving and it's getting more fun to spend time with him. I look forward to doing interesting things with him everyday. He's turning into such a big boy and I think we're going to have a lot of fun this coming year. Hooray for being 2!
Yep, it's that time folks. A certain little boy is turning 2 in a few days and we're having a small party on Sunday to celebrate. Last year we kept the theme rather generic and decided to put Elmo on his birthday cake just because he's cute. This year Simon is truly into Sesame Street and never gets tired of watching it. His favorite characters include Grover, Ernie, and of course little Elmo. It only made sense to have a Sesame Street themed party. Tomorrow's party is being brought to you by the letter S and the number 2!