Friday, February 28, 2014

Chocolate Freckles?

Chocolate Truffles/Chocolate Freckles
Yesterday the monkey tried a chocolate truffle for the first time! I mean it's not every day that a kid who is allergic to dairy is able to try a truffle since they usually require heavy cream and butter, and although I could probably substitute coconut milk and coconut oil - I just haven't felt the need for truffles. But when I saw this recipe I decided I had to try them - even knowing they'd be labor-intensive - it's not everyday you find a truffle recipe that is dairy and sugar free (uses dates as the sweetener), and is pretty much good for you!
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Can you tell he liked them? I'll give ya that he wasn't that enthusiastic about them in the video, but he wanted more after he ate the one - which is always a good indicator that he likes something...and it being chocolate is almost a guarantee that he'll love it and want more (yes I'm raising a chocoholic)!
Today however, he was having a rough day, which means I was having a rough day - so when I went to have a chocolate truffle myself - he wanted one too - and I understand completely - so I took pity on my naughty boy (because his rough days = naughty days) and let him have one. Although today when he ventured out to ask for them - besides calling them "chocolate ice cream" (which he's never had, but he's seen a picture of it in a book he has, so he knows what it's suppose to look like) - he couldn't say "truffle" instead he called it a chocolate freckle
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Of course after eating the 1 he wanted another one...one more - and when he didn't get another one he threw a fit...luckily it was almost nap time so I just let him whine, fuss, and cry for 20 min...okay, I actually was able to distract him for the 20 min till it was nap time. But yes, these things are a hit!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our Afternoon in Videos

This morning the monkey woke up yelling "Daddy OUT!" because he wanted Daddy to get him out of bed...by the time I went in though he was okay with me getting him out but he still wanted daddy - this was our conversation:
Monkey: "Daddy?"
Me: "Daddy's at work."
Monkey: "No work. HOME!"
Me: "Daddy will be home after your nap."
Monkey: "NO! Daddy no work...home...pway!"
Me: "Daddy will be home after your nap and you can play with him before dinner. This morning we get to go play with friends."
Monkey: "No fwendz...Daddy home!"
Luckily I was able to distract him by changing his diaper, putting clothes on him, and telling him he could go drink some of his drinks (water, tea, and milk...what your kid doesn't have 3 drink options 12 hrs a day?!). And luckily the day was a great day - even though he was stuck with mommy and friends and only got to see daddy for a few hours before bed...because at the beginning I thought that it could be a crap day if he was whining for "Daddy" all day.

For your enjoyment I captured our fun afternoon - I mean you already know I think my kid is funny, don't get me wrong - I think other kids are funny too (and sometimes they're funnier than my kid) but seriously, at lunch today he wanted was I was eating but he just couldn't remember what it was called...
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That's right he really wanted some...
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Don't worry I gave him some dried mango...after all I'm not a mean mommy.
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Once he was happy again he decided he was going to sing and dance
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And then of course since he was in a great mood I decided I'd have him do his seal impersonation.
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After all of that fun we moved on to what we were going to have for dinner (he learned a new word - I'll let you guess what it is - and has been repeating it all.day)
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Of course since we were talking about what daddy was going to make for dinner - the monkey decided he had to make it right then too...

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But don't worry after cooking it was time to read...or sing...or read...(he refused to do the hand movements for the song - which he's started to do every time he/I sing it)

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But as you can see he wasn't really into singing the song - he really wanted to read
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And read...
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And read...
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And read...yep - sometimes he will look at books! (And sometimes he teaches you what the traffic light colors mean)
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(Orange/Yellow = slow down, Red = stop, Green = go - he tells you these while you're driving in the car as well...very helpful!)

Bonus picture and story: Every day, at some point during the day - sometimes it's right when we get to the living room - he looks out the window searching for the kitty on the roof. Now I know you are all thinking we're crazy - a cat on a roof...on purpose?! But yes. You see, here in Belgium (or at least in our neighborhood) people have cats who they don't want to deprive of the great outdoors - but they might happen to be primarily indoor cats. One of our neighbors has a cat that she lets sit on the windowsill on sunny days - she opens the window and "lets the cat out" - but seriously it's just a windowsill...the cat would drop 4 stories if s/he tried to go further. Another of our neighbors has windows like ours - they're like skylights but not so high up and they open (angled ceilings/roofs allow for this feature) - and they'll open the window and "let the cat out" on nice days too. This cat has much more space to roam - because the house is actually attached to a whole row of houses so the cat can walk almost the whole block (on the roof)...and when the cat gets tired/too much fresh air/too much sun s/he just walks back through the window into his/her home. So needless to say when it's nice weather the window is open a lot and the cat is in and out constantly and it does cause some excitement when it's first seen...today I decided to take a picture to share with you! And don't worry - in the almost 6 months (where has that time gone) that we've been here - I've never once seen the cat jump down or fall to his/her death. (The cat, in case you don't see him/her immediately is on the right hand side of the picture - it's a white and brown cat.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Elvis Sunglasses

So since the monkey is now 2, I haven't done the month pictures with his Elvis sunglasses - but never fear they are still around! In fact today, as the monkey was sitting in his big boy chair - which use to be his highchair and he keeps telling me he wants it back to a highchair - even though he's enjoying it as his "big boy chair" and he does really good sitting at the table and eating with it...but today he was sitting in this chair, at the window watching the trains go past with the sun shining right in his eyes when I got the perfect idea! Instead of putting on his little Spiderman sunglasses I offered him the Elvis sunglasses - and guess what - he took them and let me put them on him!! No fighting, no arguing - he just sat there and enjoyed wearing them! So of course I took pictures, and a video - because let's be honest it could be a one-time event!!
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Can I just say - where did my baby go?!?!
Too many pictures? Really? But how could I choose just a couple - I guess I could've since there was also the video, but I actually took the pics before the video...or at least that's my excuse! (Plus when he "cheese's" for the camera - it's the best!)

A Bear Says...

The monkey is pretty good with animals and their sounds - I mean I've taught him to be a seal (which I have yet to get on video, but it's hilarious), make an elephant sound (which probably sounds nothing at all like a real elephant), sing a song about a galapagos (because do they make noises?!)...along with the "regular" animals...however I have apparently done a huge disservice to my child by neglecting to teach him what a bear says! So let's take a step back and think about if you were a 2 year old and your mom "forgot" to teach you what a bear said (although I'm sure I've made bear noises for him - guess he just didn't pay attention to that animal), but she reads you Paddington and Winnie the Pooh books - what would you think a bear would say?!

Now before you watch the video - know the bear sound isn't till the end because before that he was asking for apricots but he was saying "acrobats" and I was trying to capture that - but then he went back to apricots - and then since we were reading his "train" book I had to have him point out Humpty Dumpty...and then we got to the sound a bear makes...don't worry though short video (less than a minute).
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Bet you didn't know that was the sound they made either! I now have my work cut out for me - although it is one of the best original bear sounds I've ever heard - so maybe I don't need to change it.

Bonus Picture: The sunrise this morning. Since I was up for the sunrise I figured I might as well take pictures. It wasn't the prettiest sunrise I've seen, but it was pretty - the way the light was shining down through the clouds.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cooking with Owen

A couple of weeks ago the monkey was cooking and I captured it on video...this is not to say that 2 weeks ago the monkey was cooking and hasn't cooked since then - oh no. "Cooking" is a daily occurrence for the monkey, in our house, but because it happens every day I don't video it all the time...and then of course I thought "maybe I'll get some better videos of him cooking" because honestly these aren't the best. But I haven't so these are the ones you get. And I'm sure I've told you before - he uses our Beaba Babycook so much more than I ever did (don't worry, the blade has been removed).
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Once he gets this out to "cook" with he doesn't touch anything else in his kitchen - for the most part...
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Although sometimes you really do need plates and spoons.
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Unfortunately the "best" video was too big to upload, but at least you've now gotten to experience cooking with the monkey. Oh and in case you're curious as to what he made - he made chocolate pie! Don't worry I did get some pictures - not as good as a video I know, but hey, at least it's something!

Bonus Picture: The monkey used to hate his nails cut - fingernails/toenails - didn't matter - hated it...he now loves it - I think it might be because he gets to watch a show (Thomas/Daniel Tiger/Curious George) while I cut his nails, but hey - I'm all for helping the whole situation along! He now see's the clippers or nail file and asks for his nails to be done - seriously (love this kid!)...However occasionally he decides he's not going to wait for me to clip his nails - and he does it himself! Now before you freak out about it - he doesn't actually get the clippers and start clipping away (because I keep them out of his reach) - instead he has made his own nail clippers (I'm telling you imagination is an amazing thing)!
Unfortunately you can't see what he's made his nail clippers from - so I'll tell you - it's a plastic spoon! That's right he took a plastic spoon and bent it so he can press the 2 ends together and "clip" his toenails. Crud I love this kid - he pretends to cut his nails! (FYI, when he gets a hold of the nail files - he doesn't actually file his nails - he bites it...which to me makes the whole "making a spoon into nail clippers" pretty ingenious...)

Great Monday!

You know those days that you think "Today's going to be great!" and then you hope that the day really is going to be great? Yeah, I woke up thinking that when I saw the sunrise...before the sun rose I wasn't thinking that - you know when the monkey woke up yelling "MOMMY!!! OUT!!!" repeatedly 1 1/2 hrs earlier than normal...and he refused to yell that for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep again...nope he yelled for 45 min with little breaks where he would play/talk to his stuffed animals in his bed. Now I know you might be wondering why I left my child yelling in his bed for 45 min - and there are a couple reasons which include: I was praying he would go back to sleep; Rusty was getting ready for work (so the shower was taken...yes, I do take a shower and get dressed before I get the monkey from bed, because if not it would take us forever to get out the door); and then I had to take a shower and get dressed...so by the time I got him he had been awake for about 45 min - usually it's only about 30 min - so it's not like it was abnormal. Needless to say - I wasn't super happy when I woke up, but then the sunrise made me think "it's going to be a great day!" ( And yes, our windows are a little dirty so the pictures aren't super clear...but you get the picture anyway.)
When I finally got the monkey out of bed the sky looked more like this
and he came running to me super excited because he saw the moon! When he saw me taking a picture of the sky (and also the moon) - he had to take a picture too! (And yes, technically that's a calculator that he's "taking" a picture with, but please don't tell him it's not a camera phone! Also the pile of boxes next to him is where we collect the paper we recycle...it's not always the "nicest" pile, but hey that's okay.)
After breakfast, which included me drinking a lot of coffee and the monkey playing with different toys on his own - I can't say "quietly on his own" because there is nothing that he does that is quiet...but that's what he was doing while I continued to wake up...but after that I asked him where he wanted to go, because the sun was shining and really, in Belgium when the sun is shining (and it's FEB, and it's in the 50's) you HAVE to go outside! He decided he didn't want to go to the grocery store (one of the places we needed to go), but he wanted to go to town to the water fountain and the churches...so to town we went - with a detour to the grocery store (which turned out he was fine with)...we went to the water fountain statue (which is just a statue in the winter time), we went to both churches, and then I asked if he wanted to go to the park, cemetery, or train station and he chose...cemetery! Which was fine with me because we were actually pretty close and it's a good place where he can run, look for the kitty cat, and see flowers (what you don't just wander in cemetery's with your kid for fun?!).

While there he decided he wanted to have his picture taken...like he seriously said "Camera, picture!" So we had an impromptu photography session...again, you don't do this with your kid?!
He decided he didn't want to stand anymore - he actually wanted to sit, so after asking and getting the okay - he sat. (Sometimes I don't want him to sit - like if it's a mud puddle or the ground is really wet...it's not that I don't want him dirty - it's that I don't want him cold and wet when it's windy out...so he's learned to ask about sitting. Besides that he doesn't like getting dirty - or he doesn't mind getting dirty but he doesn't like being dirty...so a wet, cold child who is throwing a tantrum because he's dirty is not someone I enjoy carrying home.)
He was pretty excited when he found this rock - and wanted a picture of it too!
Once we got back it was time for lunch! I decided to try something - because he really loves sitting on "mommy and daddy's" chairs - so I made his highchair a regular chair (which is what it's suppose to do when the kid is ready for it). This is what happened
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I was thinking I might've been a bit premature to take it apart and was thinking I might have to make it a highchair again (not difficult at all), but then tonight at dinner he sat in his "big boy chair" only getting out 3 times total - and one of those times was before Rusty and I had sat down (I set him down with his plate while we fix our plates). So really I was pretty impressed! We'll see how it continues - I know there'll be some up and downs still simply because it's a novelty, but I think we might be done with highchairs!! The hilarious moment of the night came when he moved from sitting to kneeling on the chair and Rusty was trying to get him to sit again. He told the monkey 2 times to sit down or he was done (it was the end of the meal anyway), but the monkey wasn't budging. So before he said it a third time Rusty took a "cleansing breath" (the only way I know how to describe it) and the moment he let the breath out the monkey, looking right at him, did the same.exact.thing. Because you know, kids mimic...I could contain it - I burst out laughing - which made both Rusty and the monkey laugh! I mean seriously - to see your kid mimic you in action (breathing) not just with words or phrases - it's hilarious! We couldn't stop laughing (and it might not sound as funny being written about - but if you had been sitting at the table you would've thought it was hilarious too)! Oh and he never sat back on his bottom - he stayed up on his knees...guess he showed us.

Of course our great day ended with him throwing a hysterical fit as I put him to bed...not because he didn't want to go to bed, not because he didn't want his teeth brushed...nope he was fine with both of those - tonight (again) it was he wanted more tea (sometimes it's water - but tonight he wanted more peppermint tea)...just one more drink...he went down for his nap the same way...someday he'll learn that when I hand him his drink 10 min before bed and say "Drink - it's almost time to go night night" (after reminding him to drink continually throughout the day) - someday he'll learn that that means no more drinks when he actually goes to his room to go to bed, right? I wasn't going to tell him that I was going to go enjoy a nice, cold glass of water (and a glass of wine) - because that could be considered a form of torture...but I thought it...(yes sometimes I have evil mom moments of enjoyment at the "suffering" of my child)

Bonus picture: The other day I posted a picture of the monkey's hand prints next to my hands...but then yesterday (or maybe the day before) when he was drawing - I decided I'd outline both our hands just to see what the difference is - he moved some so his hand might be a little smaller/bigger - but I at least got something! Now his hands don't look as big...but I don't have super small hands - so they are big...why does he have to grow so fast!?!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Exploring Brussels

We've been to Brussels quite a few times but for some reason - I have no idea why - we always go to the lower town rather than the upper town...the lower part is where the Grand Place, some of the markets, Manneken Pis all are...the upper town is where there are lots of parks, museums, and the palace!! I know - how could I not have been to see the palace yet?! So today we remedied that - and went to the upper town.
The monkey chased a few pigeons - although they learned fast not to land anywhere near him if they didn't want to get chased! (I'm so proud of myself for teaching him to chase pigeons - I didn't see any other kids chasing pigeons, seriously it should be included in parents books "teach your kids to chase pigeons". My child actually see's pigeons and says "chase pigeons!" as he goes running off!)
Looking back over the lower town
Not sure if this was part of the Royal Library too or not, but it was pretty
He had to stop and watch the airplanes flying overhead
We were actually heading to the park (Parc Royal Warandepark), which is across from the palace...but we just enjoyed the scenery and buildings along the way...like this - yep, it's a dragon and it's across from the park (not on the palace, although that would've made it even better - a palace with a dragon!).
Just hanging out and keeping watch or sleeping on the job, you decide.
Palace from the park. We didn't walk around the palace, I'll do that next time.
I was glad that it hadn't rained for a couple of days because it would've been super muddy since most of the park was made up of dirt paths...there were some sections of grass but not tons (and I thought there would be more grass because the "park" on the map was all green...lol). There were some big, old trees
Big old tree roots
There were statues galore...
Even as a statue, this poor woman doesn't get any rest from her kids!
And there were pigeons!! Which the monkey saw, yelled "Chase! Pigeons!", and promptly went running off...(yes, I got a video of him chasing them - just not him yelling "chase pigeons!") He's holding his snack in his hand - not food to feed the pigeons, although I think a few might've gotten mixed signals at first until he let them know what was up.
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More statues...I did say "statues galore"
It's a man, who looks like he's in a mermaid outfit...really I have no clue!
And, did I tell you about how the monkey likes to chase pigeons? Oh I did? Well I have more proof (besides the previous video) - that's right, pictures!
CHASE Pigeons!!
Um, where did they go?!
Ah-HA! I found you!!
I'm gonna eat you!!
That's right pigeon - you better fly!
Did ya see that mommy?! No more pigeons - my work here is done!
There was a pretty pavilion in the park - with benches - someone should definitely get married here! (although if it was wet and muddy it would be a horrible place to get married.)
And then of course there were the pigeons...seriously is there a city with a pigeon problem?! I could teach a couple more kids to chase them and I think we could clear them out!
More Pigeons - CHASE!!
Don't worry I got this one!
Hey! Where'd they all go?!
But don't worry - he finally scared all the pigeons away and then we were able to go to the playground! The monkey had so much fun climbing up and then sliding down the slide...walking around and trying to climb the rope ladder, and attempting to reach the rings to hand on...He refused to swing, but he loved running around with daddy!
And you'll recall I said "statues galore" and then only showed you 2 statues...well here's a couple more - but trust me, there were a lot more!
But the time came to leave the park...so off we went!
And we found the Congress Column (easier than me writing down all the information)
And yes, it's between tons of modern buildings - it's a beautiful monument that definitely stands out from a distance, but when you get up close you see the lions!
Roar!
The burning flame - for Belgian's unknown solider...
And a monkey - oh wait, if you go you might not see a monkey - he was our addition to the monument, but we didn't leave him...he was wanting to sit down and so I told him he could sit there...(If you were 2 and your parents made you walk all around Brussels you'd want to sit down too! We figured he walked almost 4 mi today - he was pretty tired by the time we got home!)
At each corner of the monument were these ladies (well 1 at each corner)
And then this beautiful tree was on the edge of the area...I just liked it, I mean you know how some trees without leaves look dead and others are just beautiful - this one was one of those beautiful ones.
After following me around the monument the monkey got tired again and needed to take another short break...yeah, pretty big monument!
But we couldn't stay there all day - we had to head back to the train station to get home! He danced for part of the way, which takes some talent to dance and walk...
Let's go!
But then we saw a sight that made his feet move a little faster - a church!! (This kid loves churches!)
As we were walking, and I was taking pics, I turned and took a quick family pic - okay, so it's not up close so it's hard to see us - but there we are reflected in the window!
But like I said, the monkey loves churches - so as we got closer he started telling us he wanted to go in ("Church! IN!") and we told him if they weren't having a service we could go in, but we didn't know for sure till we got closer...
Of course this being Europe - you can always go in - you just can't necessarily walk around or talk...and there was a service going on - but I told the monkey to be quiet and to use his quiet, inside voice...the problem here is that he doesn't really have a quiet inside voice because he only occasionally will whisper...so inside we went and the whole time we were walking up the stairs to go through the door he was saying really quietly - "quiet voice, quiet voice" - yet the minute we walked in he said in his normal inside voice (which during a church service, in an old church, sounds like yelling) "Yellow sauce! Yellow sauce!" because he wanted the yellow applesauce I had brought. THANKFULLY it was the part of the service where music was being played so it wasn't like he was really disrupting the service - but because he was talking in his normal voice, with a service going on (so we couldn't really walk around) we left. And I didn't get pictures of the inside because I was holding him so he wouldn't run off/throw a tantrum when he didn't get the sauce he wanted. But we'll definitely go back!
It was a beautiful church (St. Michael and St.Gudula church)
And outside the church were these statues which the monkey insisted were
Cheval!! (Horses)
We got to the train station with a little time to spare so he watched one of the advertising screens...but I think he wondered why the touchscreen didn't work (even though these ones weren't touchscreens).
Yep, he's my tired little monkey!