The Daily Bean: 5-21-2009

Today the bean was at Grandy’s house and she got to play with water in bowls and cups outside. When she was done, she spontaneously announced that that was a “Great game.”


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V’s Quote of the Day 05-21-2009

V is at that age where she says some funny funny things, and I want to capture them. So, I’m going to have a daily quote from her.

Today, we were talking about things that we could hear outside.

“Birdies?” “Yes, birdies. What do the birdies say?” “Tweet tweet!!”

“Doggies?” “Yes, doggies. What do they say?” “Woof woof!”

“Shh..listen. Outside.” “Hear bunny rabbits.” “Oh, really? What do the rabbits sound like?” “Hop Hop Hop!”

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The Book of New Family Traditions

The Book of New Family Traditions Cover

I recently finished reading The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox. While not all of the ideas are new ones, or ones that will work for every family, it’s a very nice collection of ideas ranging from small daily rituals like your end-of-day routine to larger annual holidays or once-in-a-lifetime rites of passage. I was reading it mostly for ideas for holidays and some ideas for celebrating the seasons. I came up some nice holiday activities. Here are some that I liked and might implement, especially as V gets older. A lot of them are easy and fun and as long as I remember to do them, they should add some fun to our holidays.

This list is for holidays. I’ll write about daily and other rituals in later posts.

  • Valentine’s Day: Have a dinner where all the food is red, like dying the mashed potatoes with a bit of food dye.
  • First Day of Spring:
    • Make Birds’ Nest Supply Basket for the birds to make their nests with strings and dried grasses. We also have a bird house that we need to put on a pole and set up outside.
    • Celebrate the coming growing season by planting seeds (although depending on your growing zone, there’s not much you can plant on the first day of spring, at least not outside). She recommends nasturium seeds because they are large, but they don’t transplant well. If planting inside, I think I’d go with cantaloupe seeds.
    • I’m planning to get this book as well for us to read next year: The Spring Equinox by Ellen Jackson. It’s a good time to talk about how the earth gets warmer and now the days will start being longer than the nights.
  • Arbor Day: Easy and obvious: Plant a tree.
  • May Day (May 1st): Make a May Pole (maybe table-top size) and flower garlands to wear.
  • Halloween/October. This one is unusual, but an interesting reflection on the year. Make Gloom Dolls, which are a variation on the tissue-marker-and-string ‘ghosts’ for Halloween. For the head, use a crumpled up piece of paper where you have written down your ‘glooms’ (anything that makes you sad) for the year. The book suggests burning it, so in conjuction with a fall bonfire, that would be a nice way to think about letting go of the ‘Glooms’.
  • Thanksgiving : In addition to the usual family feast, I think we’ll think about this as a time to make a contribution to a charitable organization and think about doing something for others.
  • Winter Solstice: There is a book for that one too, by the same author. A good time to talk about how this is the darkest day and from here on out, it will start being lighter every day. I always like to have the sunrise/sunset time tracker on my weather extention at this time of year.
  • St. Nick’s Day (Dec 6): This is like a pre-Christmas day. The books suggests putting a ‘giving’ twist on it by having children receive crafting supplies that they can use to make gifts for other family members.

This one is one of my favorites, and one that I’m pretty sure that I’ll be doing.

  • Literary Advent Calendar for Christmas. Wrap or box Christmas books, movies, or magazines (holiday crafting for example) and label them like an advent calendar, 1 through 24. Open one each day and read/watch/do it.

In general for holidays, the other thing I’d like to do is have a ‘holiday’ tree so that we can hang hearts at Valentine’s day, eggs in springtime, etc.

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Dear V: Month 19

Dear V,

This month you have been ex-utero for 19 months. This is the month that you learned to talk (finally) and you revealed that you have, in fact, been saving up all the important things that we’ve been telling you since you were 2 days old. Things like colors, and names, and oh, the whole alphabet. I remember going over and over the border in your nursery and showing you all the letters. Well, I guess that’s paid off in spades now.

You are much, much happier than you were when you were little. You are fighting your last afternoon nap just a bit, sometimes skipping a day or two, and then making up for it with a massive 3 hour nap that ruins your bedtime.

You like to drink tea in the morning with me, and you say ‘tea’, ‘sip’, and ‘ahhhh’ after you’ve had some. Also, ‘pease’ and the sign for please, most emphatically, get added when I don’t have the next spoonful ready fast enough.

We are surviving the cold winter here with trips to the library and rotating toys in and our of the play room, so that they are new to you all over again.

You are getting so very tall. I guess you are still a peanut by comparison to other kids your age, but to your Dad and I you seem to be growing so fast. Your feet dangle down to my thighs when I hold you now, and you are stronger every day, your arms wrap around me and squeeze so tight now when I ask for a hug.

You get crazy after dinner sometimes now; getting a burst of energy after eating, or not, and you like to run back and forth along the path from the office to the mudroom, often screaming ‘Fast!’ and then mumbling ‘Slow!’ as you go. You seem to think that fast and slow have as much to do with volume and excitement level as they do with speed.

It is an amazing time watching you learn how to use words and run around.

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Giraffe and Bee

Giraffe and Bee

It’s only recently that V decided to start getting attached to particular toys.  She has a silly little bee and a giraffe from her crib mobile that are sort of a pair. They go everywhere together. They mostly hang out in the car, and sometimes come with us to stores or Grandy’s house. Occasionally they visit the inside of our house as well.

Since V often only pronounces the last syllable of a word, ‘giraffe’ is just ‘raffe.’ She is capable of putting short phrases together, hence ‘Giraffe and Bee’ becomes ‘Raffenbee’. This is her standard call as we are getting in the car, and we’d better have the dynamic duo handy, or no one is going anywhere.

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Tea Time

My tea cup and V's cup

Our Cups

I’m a big tea drinker. I have at least one cup every morning. V and I have been enjoying tea together for a while now. It’s progressed from giving her tiny sips using her little plastic feeding spoon, to sips from my teacup, and around 20 months she started using her own tiny teacup. She spills occasionally but usually likes it so much that she prefers to finish it instead of throwing it around, which is usually what happens when we try an open cup with milk, water or juice.

I taught her to ‘sip’ and then say exhale and say ‘ahhh’ when she was younger, like it’s the most satisfying thing in the world to have a sip of tea. Actually, when she was very young, there wasn’t much I liked more than having a sip of tea that was actually hot (although a shower counted for a lot too in those days!).

She can identify green or black tea by whether or not there is milk in the cup. We also started ‘clink and drink’; a way of toasting the morning.

It’s quite the morning ritual for us now. I’m reading The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox right now to help find some rituals and celebrations for us as a family. More on that later. I don’t know that without reading this book that I’d have considered our morning tea to be such a ritual, but really it is.

I hope V and I continue our morning tea ritual for a long time to come.

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Exercise Review

So, it’s taken me a long while to get back into the habit of exercising. Not just since V was born, but since high school. Yeah, I sort of worked out, probably more than most people, in college and since then, including a stint at a YMCA when I first started working that was pretty regular. But since high school, it hasn’t really been an ingrained habit like it used to be. I mean it’s a habit like brushing my teeth, or showering, where if I don’t work out, I feel like I missed something essential in my day. When that happens, all the excuses I use fall by the wayside (like, “Oh, it’s too soon after dinner”, or “It’s too late at night”). You don’t excuse yourself from brushing your teeth just because it’s midnight. I’m really happy to say that I’ve gotten back to that point.

I want to start tracking my mileage since I’ve been on the elliptical pretty consistently since January. I think I’ve been upping my mileage and getting a bit faster too. I just cycle through the preset programs on my elliptical at 30 minutes a pop and occasionally do a 45-minute course. I’ve also started using some of FitSugar’s Elliptical Workouts, but I haven’t really acclimated to them yet since it’s a lot of futzing around with the resistance and such.

Here’s the breakdown of my cardio workouts for the last three months. After this, I’ll be doing monthly updates.

1/5/2009 2.09 miles (30 minutes on Manual)
1/8/2009 1.76 (30 minutes on Hill)
1/12/2009 1.70 (30 minutes on Fatburn)
1/14/2009 1.12 (20* minutes on Cardio)
1/19/2009 1.60 (30 minutes on Strength)
1/21/2009 1.75 (30 minutes on Interval)
1/23/2009 2.07 (30 minutes on Manual)
1/26/2009 1.83 (30 minutes on Hill)
1/28/2009 1.76 (30 minutes on Fatburn)
1/31/2009 1.66 (30 minutes on Cardio)

January total: 17.34 miles

2/4/2009 1.67 (30 minutes on Strength)
2/7/2009 1.83 (30 minutes on Interval)
2/10/2009 2.18 (30 minutes on Manual)
2/16/2009 1.85 (30 minutes on Hill)
2/18/2009 1.72 (30 minutes on Fatburn)
2/20/2009 1.69 (30 minutes on Cardio)
2/25/2009 1.67 (30 minutes on Strength)

February total: 12.61 miles

3/2/2009 1.84 (30 minutes on Interval)
3/6/2009 3.06 (45* minutes on Manual)
3/9/2009 2.18 (30 minutes on Manual)
3/13/2009 1.87 (30 minutes on Hill)
3/16/2009 1.78 (30 minutes on Fatburn)
3/18/2009 1.64 (30 minutes on Cardio)
3/20/2009 1.67 (30 minutes on Strength)
3/23/2009 3.17 (45* minutes on Manual)
3/25/2009 1.83 (30 minutes on Interval)
3/30/2009 2.21 (30 minutes on Manual)

March total: 21.25 miles

I’d like to be breaking 5 miles a week, but roughly, it looks like I’ve only managed that in March by adding in a few extra 45-minute sessions.

Since I switch focus every two months on my workouts, it’s not likely that I’ll be hitting 20 miles this month, since I’m going to do a lot of strength training for the next two months. I expect that tracking my progress with weights will be less exact than with my cardio; I just don’t have the patience to write down in what I did in between sets. The best I’ll say is that I’m starting at 5 lb free weights for everything, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do all my sets with 8 lbs by the end of May.

Stay tuned for my review of my 101 things list (aka ‘Last Year’s Internet Resolution Meme’).

Sole Elliptical

Sole Elliptical

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