August 21, 2010

At the Piano

We picked up Claire on Friday after she'd been away for over two weeks. She was excited to see us, but she really couldn't wait to see Hamilton's walking around. Claire finds Hamilton much more fun at this age than when he was little. And Hamilton loves his Sissy's piano playing and singing. Just this morning, Claire was entertaining Hamilton by playing the preloaded piano songs and singing along.

Fifth Grade

Claire started the fifth grade this past week. Her math-and-science teacher this year is a man, and I'm wondering if that will affect her behavior or performance at all. Her language teacher's surname has given her a reputation of being "mean," according to Claire's earlier reports; however, she seemed perfectly nice when I met her.

There's a new, strict dress code/uniform policy this year that most of the kids have been lamenting, so Mr. Morgan has taken Claire this afternoon to go shopping for new school clothes and see Despicable Me. Since I helped Claire sift through her old clothes this morning, giving away a huge trashbag of clothes, Mr. Morgan agreed to do the shopping.

Claire has also been saving up her own money for a new pair of shoes that she spied over the summer. Since I had just bought her several pairs of new shoes in the spring, I told her she'd have to save her allowance to buy the shoes she now wanted. Hopefully the store will still have the shoes Claire wanted (or another suitable pair), since she did such a good job of saving her money over the past months.

August 17, 2010

Walking Skills

Hamilton's been walking now for two weeks, and he's getting good at it. He can pull up on anything, and he can stand up on his own and begin walking. I took this video today during his snack time: He's getting so good at walking that he can drink juice and walk backward at the same time.

video

Also, I used my iPod's video camera for this video to see if the quality was better than our little Nikon. On my computer screen I can't really tell a difference, but the video uploaded much faster, which is a perk.

Back Porch Makeover

With Hamilton's moving around and getting into everything, it's hard to let him roam and play downstairs by himself. Our downstairs is open, so there's nowhere to corral the little one. He's constantly getting into things that he shouldn't be getting into.

A few weeks ago at Mom's suggestion, I reappropriated the back porch as a playroom for Hamilton. The ratty and old, stained and mildewed couch cushions had to go. The supposed-to-be-indoor fan was tossed and replaced. I bought a giant outdoor rug from Lowe's to cover the cement floor. The new window shades have been a blessing and necessity in the oppressive heat and sun this summer.
I rearranged some furniture from the house that is actually for outdoors, and I moved some plastic toys outside, making a cozy playroom that he loves.Though on the hottest days Hamilton sweats a lot, he has enjoyed his playroom. It's great to have a toddler-friendly place downstairs for him to play by himself. Through this full-length window in the door, I can easily keep an eye on him while I'm downstairs, even while cooking in the kitchen.

August 8, 2010

Aquarium

Our dear friends the Johnsons bought a family membership to the Aquarium, and Christie so sweetly invited Hardee, me, and our kids to visit using their buddy passes. Two weeks ago we met downtown for a morning visit to the Aquarium. Grady and Arthur were both walking, and Hamilton tried to keep up with his quick crawling. Since we'd recently taken Claire to the Aquarium, she was eager to go back to see her favorite exhibits.
One of the best spots in the Aquarium was the old boat made into a play area. Our little bookworm spent the first several minutes reading the literature provided.
Hamilton's crawling took him head first off the ledge of the boat.
Grady, who's the strongest walker, enjoyed exploring the boat and navigational system.Not to be outdone, Arthur "helped" Grady move out of his way, so Arthur could study the navigational system. Hamilton, the innocent crawler, made a fantastic stumbling device.
Even Claire enjoyed exploring the boat's navigational controls.
Supermom Hardee swoops in to help untangle the boys.
The boys loved staring at all the different fish in the giant fish tanks. Some of the tanks had ledges which were perfect for the one-year-olds.
Staring at himself while looking for fish was also part of the appeal for Hamilton.
This replica made a great drum for Grady and Hamilton's impromptu concert.

Thirteen Months Old

Hamilton was 13 months old on August 5, and he started walking earlier this week! In just a few days he's improved so much. Here's a video of his walking from a few days ago.
video

I'm several days late in posting about Hamilton's latest milestone. I didn't do the usual picture with friends because Hamilton would never have sat still long enough for the photo shoot. I'll probably continue the milestone posts with a video or snapshot about any recent skills.

Hamilton has continued to delight us with his squealing and talking, though we're trying to work on being quieter at the dinner table. It's hard to take the loud boy out to eat right now. Hamilton learned a new sign recently (dog), which has given me hope that he'll start to learn more signs as he's been preoccupied mastering many mobile skills in the last few months.

He loves music and dancing; any song or simple beat he hears makes him dance. I kept him in the worship service this morning for the music part: He seemed to enjoy the music; however, his noisyness and squirmyness are making me rethink having him in there.

I registered Hamilton for a Child's Day Out program for the fall. He'll attend "school," as we'll call it, for two mornings each week beginning in September. Several of his little friends from our community group will be in his class, and a few hours each week without Hamilton will give me time to run errands.

Pat the Bunny

One of Hamilton's favorite books is Pat the Bunny, and at some point he figured out how to do all the activities in the book. This week I took a video of Mr. Morgan reading to him, so Hamilton could show off.
video

Pears

Last weekend I finally picked the pears from our tree in the backyard. Dad gave me this pear tree back when I lived in my old house, but we've harvested only a handful of pears ever. This year has been super plentiful.
I've been sharing pears with everyone I know, and Hardee sent me this delicious recipe, which I'm hoping to try soon. Deb sent me the recipe below that she came across in her stash. We tried it for lunch today--delicious!

Pork Chops with Gorgonzola and Pears

Sea salt, kosher salt or salt
4 pork chops 3/4 to 1 inch thick
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored; each pear cut in 8 wedges
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. dry white wine or apple juice
1/4 c. whipping cream
8 oz. creamy Gorgonzola or blue cheese, cut up
Freshly ground black pepper
Additional Gorgonzola cheese, cut in chunks (optional)

Sprinkle pork chops with salt. In a 12 inch skillet cook pork chops in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn chops and cook 5 minutes more or until browned and juices run clear (160 degrees). Transfer chops to serving platter. Drain fat from skillet. In same skillet cook pear wedges in butter over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until browned, turning once. Add pears to platter. For sauce, add wine and cream to skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, 1 to 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Add the 8 oz. Gargonzola; whisk until cheese is almost melted. Remove from heat. Serve with pork and pears. Sprinkle with pepper and additional cheese. Makes 4 servings.

August 2, 2010

Another Beach Trip

After Mom brought Hamilton back, we spent last Tuesday at the beach with the kids. Mom made Hamilton a cute, wide-brimmed hat to help shield his baby face from the sun. Another mom at the beach noticed the hat and asked me where I'd gotten it. I was able to drum up sales for Mom's etsy site.
Claire and Hamilton take after their Mimi loving to be at the beach for hours and hours.Hamilton's crinkled-nose face appears when he's working hard. At the beach he enjoyed pushing the stroller through the sand.

August 1, 2010

Mesmerized

Sunday afternoon Hamilton was playing in the newly revamped back porch. (I'll post before-and-after pictures later.) We were inside enjoying the cool of the living room, but the porch door has a full-length window in it, allowing us to keep tabs on the little one. Hamilton likes to look through the window and smile at us sometimes while he's playing.

Our dear friends David and Silas were hanging out after lunch with us, and Seth was demonstrating our newest technological addition to the family: our Roomba we've named Fioona. Hamilton began watching Fioona through the window as she was doing her vacuuming, and Claire exclaimed, "He's just memorized by that thing!"