One New Thing Every Day

From the day I turned 29, I tried to do one new thing a day... it took a few extra months, but I did it! Now I'll post new things randomly as I try them.

Friday, February 29, 2008

#144 - TLG Loves the Computer

Our little guy has used the computer before, but always carefully supervised, sitting on my lap. Today, while my hubby was out picking up dinner and I was hanging laundry, I logged on to the Curious George website through and set up our laptop on TLG's small kitchen table. Then I handed him the mouse, showed him how to start a video clip and take "pictures" through one of the games, and I walked into the laundry room, giving him free reign of the computer. This is another small step in TLG's growing up album, and I took a photo because it was just so darn cute. We don't usually watch Curious George on TV because it's on at a funny time of day, but he was enthralled with the video clips and thought it was fun to click the mouse to take a still-frame photo. Adorable.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

#143 - Looong Walks

The little guy and I had a great adventure this afternoon in the neighborhood, and took an hour-long walk without a stroller, diaper bag, or any other aids to help us. Sure, we've walked around our little cul-de-sac before, but that's pretty much all we've done by ourselves. This afternoon the weather was perfect, so we took off in one direction, and before we returned we had seen: an ambulance, fire truck, police car and motorcycle cop trying to help one of our neighbors; all sorts of random cars, trucks, and a school bus; we'd talked about what is a fire hydrant and how we use it; and had a heart-breaking exchange about a stray dog. (TLG: "That's not C.J." Mommy: "No." Then Mommy had to stop herself from crying all over again.)

About 45 minutes into our walk, TLG said he was ready to go home. Of course we weren't anywhere near home... so we made it fun by kicking a rock down the sidewalk for a while, and when he couldn't take it anymore and started talking about wanting a drink of water and a new diaper, I carried him the last two blocks. (Now, excuse me while I go get some ibuprofen and a heating pad for my sore back.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

#142 - Spring Movie Season

Tonight, I took my new issue of Entertainment Weekly, the Spring Movie Preview, and I added 12 not-even-released-yet movies to our Netflix queue. We watch a lot of movies in our house, mostly after they've been released to DVD. And I'm usually good about adding them once they're in the theaters so I don't forget about them. But since there was such a great, comprehensive list available, I thought I might just add them now. There were a few I was hoping to add that Netflix couldn't find yet, like "Pineapple Express" starring James Franco and a few other of my favorite actors from that great TV show, Freaks and Geeks. I guess I'm jumping the gun a little bit!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

#141 - The Egg Roll Challenge

I've already mentioned that we had to buy our egg roll wrappers for tonight's new thing at a specialty store, and how much trouble it's been just to get all our ducks in a row just to get ready to make them tonight. We finally were able to complete this new thing, and we made egg rolls, just like you'd find at a Chinese restaurant. We started by chopping all the ingredients last night for inside the rolls, and this afternoon my dear husband added them all together and let them chill for an hour. We also had to defrost the lumpia shells, which looked like an extra-thin tortilla (which I'm holding up, above).

Then you cut them in half, add the filling and roll them according to the directions. Then you fry them in very hot corn oil until they are brown and crispy on the outside.

Finally, you take them out of the oil, let them cool, and eat them with sweet and sour sauce. We offered one to TLG to try, and he licked off all the sauce and decided not to try the food itself. So he ate some noodles for dinner instead.

One complaint about this dinner: it made our house smell terribly like fried foods. We do occasionally fry things, but usually just in vegetable oil, and it doesn't stink up the place that badly.

Monday, February 25, 2008

#140 - McD's to the Rescue

This evening we were planning to try my friend's recipe for which we now have all the ingredients. But our plans went awry and we ended up making a run to McDonald's for dinner instead. The three of us piled in the car and took off down the interstate as we often do when the siren song of McD's calls... and as we exited the freeway, TLG started practically yelling, "Right there, Mommy, right there - french fries, right there!!!" It's true - today, for the first time, our little guy recognized McDonald's! Of course in a perfect world he'd eat nothing but organic fruits and vegetables, and fresh meats all day. But it did make us laugh out loud that he knew exactly where to find his french fries. And yes, this is a photo of my son wearing a Happy Meal box on his head. Ha.

#139 - Testing, Testing

Today, as part of the new hire process for my new job, I took a drug test. Sure, I've taken those pee-in-a-cup tests before, especially while I was pregnant. But this was the first time I've ever taken one where I was given specific instructions to empty my pockets, lock up my purse in a cabinet, and given a time frame in which to complete the deed. I know there are requirements to make sure that people don't cheat the system, but it all felt a little odd to me. Not to mention I had to wait for an hour in the waiting room with a bunch of sick and injured folks just to complete this test (which took less than five minutes...) Looking back, maybe they had me wait to ensure that I would be able to go to the bathroom on cue? Weird.

#138 - Boutique Shopping?

On Saturday, we visited a Filipino market in town to get an ingredient for a new recipe I'll be trying soon. A funny story: I got the recipe and directions to the market from a friend, and I bought all the ingredients sans one at our regular grocery store. I had planned to try the recipe last week while my sister was visiting us. But we didn't have time to get the last ingredient, so she left before we tried it. We finally made it to the store Saturday, and on Sunday we realized the fresh shrimp I had bought had already gone bad. *Sheesh*

Anyway, the market is very small and tucked in a strip mall with many other small stores. We weren't in there for long but I didn't see many brands I recognized among the items on the shelves. We asked for help, and the gentleman who showed us where to go barely spoke English... but he did know what we were looking for and led us right to it. We only bought the one thing we needed, but perhaps we'll find a reason to go back and explore next time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

#137 - A Sad Post

Today I found out how I work under extreme emotional stress. After a night of not sleeping well (thanks to TLG who is quite unhappy with his post-surgery situation), everything came to a head when my dear hubby found our beloved older dog had passed away in the night. When he woke me to tell me the news, I was surprisingly calm... for about 30 minutes. I had good suggestions and was strong and decisive, and then after that I just couldn't hold it together anymore. I hope that in any future crises I will show the same fortitude. But as they say, it's alright to cry. C.J., we love you and you will be missed every day.

#136 - An Adventure in Dining

What do you make for dinner when you have an under-the-weather child and 1/2 a box of Velveeta in the fridge? Funny you should ask. On Monday, I tried a new recipe: Extremely Easy Taco Bake. Ingredients included 2 cans of no-bean chili, 1 can of diced tomatoes/chiles, my Velveeta, and some taco chips. Mix it together according to the directions, bake for 30 minutes, serve topped with sour cream... and then you'll have a spicy not-quite-soup, not-quite-stew concoction with which to annoy and pester your spouse.

#135 - A Ho-Hum Holiday least for my wonderful husband. Last Thursday, for Valentine's Day, all my hubby got was two cards (one mushy, one funny, as is tradition). He did send me some beautiful flowers, but contrary to our other six V-Days we've celebrated, neither of us got a gift for each other. We were just too busy getting ready for TLG's surgery on Friday to go out to dinner, anyways.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

#134 - Paperwork

I've been asked to find paperwork from my childhood detailing my vaccinations. I ask you, who at age 29 could actually find such a thing? It's not like it's a birth certificate or a passport, for crying out loud. Fortunately, today I followed a suggestion from my dad (who can be brilliant, by the way), and I called my alma mater and asked if the university kept these records on file - and they do! And I can get a copy from them! Hooray! I will putting a copy in a safe place in case anyone ever asks again. Thanks for the idea, Dad!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

#133 - A New Thing for TLG

Today, I watched in wonder as TLG chose his own shirt and put it on all by himself! It feels like it was just yesterday that he was just a tiny baby, and now he can undress himself and put on shirts? Good grief, time goes by so quickly. Now we just have to work on pants and socks.
P.S. I finally downloaded a bunch of photos, some of which are for my older posts, so check them out if you like.

#132 - Christmas in February

We celebrated Christmas again today, this time with Poppy and my sister, who drove in from out of town. Never have I celebrated this holiday so far from the real day! Fortunately, we hadn't quite put away the boxes of decorations (though they were upstairs, at least), so it was easy to bring down a small table-top tree and a CD to pop in for "mood music." We had a grand old holiday, and as is tradition in our family, everyone had tons of wonderful gifts to open (thanks, Poppy and Aunt B!)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

#131 - Errands with TLG

Yes, I have taken TLG on errands before, but we usually do errands as a family or somebody stays home with him while the other person heads out to the stores. Today TLG and I did the errands together, sans stroller, and we did GREAT. First we headed to Macy's where he was enthralled with the Clinque lady's painting on her hand (she was showing me lipstick samples). Then to the fancy-schmancy car wash where we sat through a long line but TLG was patient and seemed to enjoy the "show." Finally to Costco, where we bought the old standards (diapers, wipes) and he got to ride in the cart. He was a trooper, never whined or complained, and we were back home in two hours. After his nap and lunch, I took him to the park this afternoon so he could get out some of that energy... the weather here was great today and we had fun there, too. I guess errands with the kiddo don't have to be as scary as they used to be!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

#130 - Working Mother

I've read two issues of Working Mother magazine, courtesy of someone I work with. It's particularly fitting that this it today's new thing because TLG has been home this week with Grandma and I've been battling a bout of guilt that I couldn't be home with him myself. (TLG does seem to be enjoying himself immensly, so thank you, Grandma!!!) The magazines were interesting, filled with lots of interviews with moms who work at very large national companies. One of the issues was the "green" issue which focused on ways to get your family to recycle, save energy, etc. It's not a magazine I'd probably subscribe to, but since I didn't even know it existed before I'd say it was pretty OK.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

#129 - Broken Dish

On the subject of parenting, I remember being so frustrated as a kid when I broke something accidentally. Like I was a klutz and my parents were going to be SO mad. Tonight I was letting TLG help me load the dishwasher, and he dropped a plate and it shattered into a bunch of pieces. Of course, I've broken my fair share of things in my life, and TLG has also broken a couple --- but none of his "conquests" have been shattered and therefore a hazard to him. If I had broken it, I would have been really mad at myself, but I found with TLG that I was very calm, asked my dear hubby to keep TLG away so I could clean it up... and after rehearsal tonight, I hopped on eBay to buy a few more plates in our pattern (so we have a few spares, just in case). So now I'm prepared for next time!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

#128 - Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Today I also visited the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. It's much like a giant nature park with a few buildings dedicated to environment-related displays. The Sustainability Exhibit was pretty cool, with samples of everyday household items that you can buy made out of recycled materials, games for kids to play that relate to renewable energy and recycling, and tips on making easy steps towards helping keep the environment safe. The also had a "design studio" with lots of samples of the household items so that folks who want to buy them can see them up close before making the financial commitment. I also ate lunch in the Wolfgang Puck-affiliated cafe on the premises, and it enjoyed a delicious Chinese chicken salad with candied cashews. Yum!

#127 - Major Gross-Out

I was in Las Vegas for work yesterday and today, meaning I had to stay overnight. I don't mind telling you that I stayed at a hotel called the Candlewood Suites and I would definitely NOT recommend anyone ever going there. This morning I was so distraught over the cleanliness of my room that I complained to the manager and got my room comp'd. It seemed dirty when I arrived last night, so I wore my socks with my p.j.'s to bed and didn't touch anything I didn't have to. But then this morning I was totally grossed out by a giant hairball in the supposedly-clean bath towel. I took a photo with my camera-phone but can't figure out how to post that for you, so suffice to say that it was traumatic and I won't ever be going back there again.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

#126 - Fixing and Patching

This afternoon, during the Super Bowl, I helped my father-in-law and hubby patch two holes in the wall and hang a new coat rack. I've never been one to complete major house repairs, and while this wouldn't be "major" for either of the men I was helping, it was for me! We used a putty knife to patch the holes (which were from the coat rack pulling out of the wall a week or two ago)... this was the first time I've used anything other than toothpaste to patch a wall. (An old college trick!) Once that dried, I got to use a cordless electric drill/screwdriver to hang a fancy board my father-in-law had prepared for us to reinforce the wall. Then we screwed in the coat rack, and we were all done! It looks great and is much stronger than it used to be.

After patching the holes, it looked like this:

and then we hung the board and rack, and it looked like this:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

#125 - Walking on Eggshells

In preparation for the Super Bowl tomorrow, I did a lot of cooking and baking tonight. TLG wanted to help in the kitchen because he loves cooking - so the two of us tried to make devilled eggs together. This was quite an experiment because you have to be very gentle with getting the eggshells off the hard-boiled eggs to preserve the whites for later. TLG isn't the most gentle kid, nor the most patient, so we wrecked a few. But he got the hang of it. Then he promptly spilled the trash can full of eggshells all over the kitchen floor! Once we cleaned up that mess, I stood him on a kitchen chair at the counter so he could help his daddy mash up the yolks... and he promptly fell head-first off the chair and smack! onto the floor. That was the end of my kitchen help because TLG was crying and wanted to read a book, so I was on my own. I'm happy to report that he's doing fine.

#124 - Wedding Redux

This afternoon, our family went to a wedding "reception" for a couple who were married a year ago. I've heard of this idea before, but haven't known anyone who did this until today. One of my hubby's friends and wife got married a year ago and today they held a nice, small-ish party at a local Italian restaurant. Of course, we were faced with the gift question: what do you get a couple who's been married a year already? They're not registered anywhere, and they're pretty settled. (We ended up going with a gift card.) The party itself was nice, we only knew a few people but the food was delicious and TLG had a great time trying long spaghetti noodles for the first time... he was slurping them and making a general mess. Wish I'd had my camera there!