Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eighteen months! Plus some random bits.

Fiona! She's 18 months. She's giving me a run for my money. It's a good thing she's so darned cute...

Lately, she has been protesting both nap and bedtime. I can get her to nap every other day, although she only napped once while we were at the in-laws for 4 days. So we're running on a sleep deficit, which makes her a little less easy-going and much more prone to provoke Adrian. Today she actually pulled his hair. (Granted, he was the instigator, but hair pulling is verboten) And the thing about protesting sleep that gets me is that the screamy crying fit only happens when I put her to bed. Aaron puts her down--silence. Nana puts her down--silence. I put her down, you can count on 15-45 minutes of hysteria. It's like I won the crappy lottery. And I thought maybe it was just an age thing, so I went back and looked at what I had to say about Adrian at 18 months. It seems that while the general tantrums are the same, this sleepless crap is all Fiona Leigh.

In other news, Adrian and I mixed up a big batch of bread dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day--and are anticipating fresh bread for breakfast! YUUUUUM! If only I had some brie cheese to smear on it with my marmalade. (I harbor a love for marmalade that borders on the pathological)

At some point I'll post about this years' holiday extravaganza and Adrian's love of technology.

And below: photographic evidence of my parents' visit! It's a very rare photo because in it my Mom is smiling! Usually she wears a "don't point that thing at me" expression.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two thoughts

1. The only problem with leftover Chinese food is that when it's gone your fridge still smells like eggrolls.

2. Snow! And more snow! I drove the kids 3 blocks over to a friends house to play and it was a slip-slidey adventure. Apparently if school is not in session our street is not a plow-priority. I need a plastic sled that the kids can sit in and then I can haul them snow-dog style.

Friday, December 19, 2008


We had an ice storm last night. As a result, our front steps were buried under ice that fell off the awning. When I stepped out the front door to put Adrian on the bus, I was expecting ice steps. I was not expecting an icy hill. I turned around to tell Adrian to watch for the ice and fell. Fell, then slid down the icy hill to where the sidewalk would have been if it wasn't covered with ice. Thankfully, I landed on my butt and not anything breakable. Somehow I managed the whole thing without dropping Adrian's backpack or the cookies for the neighbors--who witnessed it all. Sicilians on ice! Coming to a slippery slope near you!
Sadly, now my butt hurts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A rebuttal, with a side order of snark.

The question: So what did you cook that was so objectionable to a 4 year old that he would rather starve himself than eat it?

The answer: Tamale pie. Consisting of leftover taco meat (which he ate earlier), black beans (oh, how i love them), corn (oh, how fiona loves it), and pureed tomatoes. Topped with cornbread topped with monterey jack cheese.

I know, I am the most evil and unfeeling mother this side of the Mississippi.

Next: How about this - if you want him to fatten up, give him fattening foods that he will eat.

The answer: I am not running a restaurant. I cook one type of food for each meal. If I give Adrian "fattening foods" then we will all be eating "fattening foods". And the list of "fattening foods" that Adrian eats is as follows:
Fried chicken, no skin.
French fries.
Corn dogs.
That's it. It reads like a manual to heart attack, childhood obesity, or type 2 diabetes. We'll pass on that, thanks.

Next:Don't make this a contest of wills with a four year old.

The answer: I am not having a battle of wills. I always put one thing on his plate I KNOW he will eat. If he decides to be pigheaded about the whole plate, I am not breaking out my short-order chef's hat and popping back into the kitchen. Dinner is always a difficult time, as it happens at the end of the day when he is worn out but not yet ready for bed. The last time I made pancakes for breakfast he complained that they weren't circley enough. Pancakes. He complained about a food you eat with syrup.

Clearly the problem is not me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Well, it's finally happened. I've talked so much, and at such length that I've lost my voice. (Doom!) How am I supposed to yell at the kids now? (kidding!)

My parents were here for too short a visit and we were tremendously busy. I like to cram as much as possible into every day because who knows when they'll be back? Last Friday we went down to the Art Institute to see the tapestry exhibit and wow. It was really breathtaking and slightly overwhelming--as I find most major art exhibitions to be. At some point your brain reaches overload and your senses just quit. It was amazing to see what could be accomplished with what ammounted to bits of colored string.

Adrian and Fiona were of course lovely and charming with their grandparents. They have since made up for their prolonged good behavior. For example, last night Adrian decided he didn't want to eat what I had cooked, so he spent 15 minutes sitting at the table (with his full plate in front of him) crying and yelling "But I'm so hungry!". Meanwhile, Fiona is looking at me asking "Adrian, owies?" which is what she asks every time he pitches a fit. In her mind I'm sure she thinks her brother is the most injury-prone person to walk the planet.

For her own little self, Fiona is on a nap imbargo. Deeeelightful. Monday she had her 18 month check up and she's only 9 pounds lighter than Adrian. She really IS going to dress him like a baby doll if he doesn't start putting on some weight soon.

And now there are suspicious noises coming from the kitchen.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Things I've learned

1. You can be around and care for ill children for 4 weeks before your immune system gives up and you want to find a hole to crawl into for a while.
a. The size of the hole will be in direct proportion to the number of things on your to-do list
b. The severity of the illness is directly related to the probability of help (if help is available, you will be miserable but not at death's door. if there is no help, it's best to call your loved ones and bid them adieu)

2. If you should ever be evicted because of a monkey, you should definitely have someone in your life who will let you sleep on their couch while you look for a new place to live.

3. I can no longer suspend my disbelief for children's films. It is a sad day--I can't stop myself from questioning the legal implications of removing a 40-foot idol from the heartlands of Africa for the purpose of the monetary gain of a museum in New York City. (Anyone who can tell me which film this is will get a cool and completely frivolous prize)

My mother is coming to visit. Thus, in the grand Chicago tradition the weather will be crappy while she is here. Wondering why Wednesday through Sunday will be cold enough to turn children to child-sicles? It's because the Weather Commission (a superhero-like force what controls the weather) has decided that every time my mom visits, they will punish us all with unseasonable weather. Which is totally lame, because my mom is awesome. Double lame because my dad is coming too and we were going to try to convince them to up and move to Chicago--third largest city in the U.S., resplendant with architectural beauty, and also I am here (which should be reason enough, right?)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Gobble gobble!

For Thanksgiving, we went to Rick and Elaine's house. (Aaron's aunt & uncle) They host a great many Puetz family get-togethers, partially because of their central location and partially because their house is big enough to hold all of us--I think there were 23 at Thanksgiving this year. My brother Jono was along for the visit, which was a treat--he's now a carded starving artist and lives all the way in Connecticut so we don't see him much. Aaron has promised him an Xbox 360 if he moves to Chicago, and I wholeheartedly endorse this bribe. It's part of my grand plan to convince everyone I know and love to move closer to me. Or as I like to think of it: coooooome toooo Chicaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaago.
At any rate, Thanksgiving was good fun. I told Aaron before we left that he was going to be the sober, responsible one for the day--good thing too, as cocktail hour started at one and went through dinner. After Thanksgiving, we piled back into the car, Aaron drove us home and the next day we put Jono on the plane back to Connecticut. Not that we were lonely-- we had Aaron's parents and sister with us Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have to say that having them around makes me see the wisdom in multi-generational households. Soooo much can be accomplished when there are extra hands and extra eyes for watching babies. And next week my parents will be in for a few days!

Thanksgiving...illustrated back to front.
Here is Adrian and Cousin Shana taking a break from Nerf guns--I don't know about you but I see the resemblance between the two of them.

Here is my brother Jono, myself and Miss Fiona Leigh...as well as Grandpa Dick (Puetz family patriarch) to the right, and Erica (Aaron's sister) to the left.
Back at Casa Fleck-arlo, we were entertained by the musical stylings of Jono and Bluesman AD on harmonica.

Adrian really got into playing the harmonica. He loves music--listening to it, trying new instruments. He told me the other day that he wants to learn to play the violin (in addition to the piano, guitar, drums, and tuba) . Perhaps watching hours of Mary Poppins as a wee one really did have an effect on him.