Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Revolution Around the Sun Completed

I celebrated my birthday this weekend. Yeah! Please don't ask which birthday it was; we'll just say it's the first of many for which I'll decline to state.
We partied all weekend. On Friday night, we had some friends over for fondue - both the cheese and the chocolate varieties. We also played a round of Telephone Pictionary. On Saturday, Kev made me a delicious breakfast, and we went out for sushi at lunchtime. Today we feasted on leftover fondue; as I write this, I'm in the throes of a fondue hangover. Oh, the goodness!
Thanks to all who sent (or even just thought) happy birthday wishes. It was happy indeed, despite the threat of being overshadowed by Christmas.

P.S. Birthday bonus: look what we saw walking home from the park on Friday - an honest-to-goodness air boat!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's Just Not Right

Today when we were getting stuff to plant our herb garden, we walked right past this.

Halloween is still more than a month away. It's just not right.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Florida First

Today I was at the park with Stellan from about 10:30 AM to noon, a little late than usual, and also a usually little hotter than our earlier hour. But today is overcast and windy, and for the first time since we got here, I felt downright comfortable outside. Yes, it was actually a pleasure to be standing outside enjoying the weather! Fall must really be here - it was only 82 degrees.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Culinary Adventures

We've been getting creative in the kitchen lately. First, on Saturday we made my mom's famous chocolate cheesecake. If you've ever had it, you know it's not really cheesecake, but a layered pudding/whipped cream/cream cheese pan full of yumminess. It was our first time, and it turned out really well. See process below.

Then, my gourmand aunt and uncle sent us a copy of Cuisine At Home, a magazine full of amazing recipes. We tried the chicken burgers with spicy sauce and parmesan fries. Oh so tasty! Next up, ribs and ice cream-less chocolate malts. Thanks, Beeb and Bob!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stellan's Contribution to Talk Like a Pirate Day

Since Stellan, who isn't really talking yet, can't contribute in the traditional way to Talk Like a Pirate Day, he decided to participate by wearing a pirate beard. His first attempt was a little weak, and ended up looking more like a soul patch. We dubbed him the Soul Pirate.

He was more in the mood during dinner, and found the lasagna perfectedly suited to his special silent-pirate needs. Here he is, Captain Red Beard.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

Just because people always complain that they didn't know in advance, I'm just reminding you that tomorrow, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. So prepare accordingly, me hearties.

Bianca the Disgruntled (the swashbuckler known as Krissie 364.24 days of the year)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let's Hear It For Home Haircuts

As you may have started to notice, Stellan has been due for another haircut. You like those wings on the side?

I have been in a bit of a quandary trying to figure out just how to do it. He's a light sleeper, so that method was out; he's not too into TV yet, so Lilo and Stitch was out; I haven't found a good drug dealer yet, so doping him was out; I thought about taking him to a real haircutting place, but I figured he would be at least as much trouble in a room full of shiny new sharp objects as he is as home.
In the end, I bit the bullet and grabbed the scissors while he was eating lunch after a big nap. I gave him a banana and a peanut butter sandwich (2 favorites) and got to work. He was not very excited about, he was moving his head constantly. Luckily, he was trapped in his high chair, so his head was about all he could move.
In the end, I was pretty happy with my work. His new haircut makes him look older one second and younger the next. Here are a couple of photos of the new 'do.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Just Saw a Monkey

No, really, I did!

I had just dropped Kevin off at SeaTech and Stellan and I were on our way to the park. As we were driving down A1A, a big monkey skittered across the highway. It looked kind of like the squirrel monkeys I'm so fond of at the SB Zoo, but much bigger, like the size of a really fat cat. I called Kev right away to inform him that we really did move to the jungle.
When I got home I did some Google detective work and discovered that there is in fact a population (size unsure, but probably around 100) of vervet monkeys, also known as green monkeys, that has inhabited Dania Beach for decades. Different stories list various beginnings to the monkey saga (escaped lab monkeys, roadside primate exhibition that went out of business, etc.), but with no real conclusive consensus. However, the more amusing stories relate that they have taken control of a Hertz car rental facility, tourists request rooms with a view of the monkeys at Motel 6, they have been possibly "taken out" in the night by shady business men, and the New York Times reports that this is only one example of all kinds of exotic non-native animals running amok in Florida.
I always wanted a pet monkey. Maybe this is the next best thing! Stellan and I might have to do some more investigating. What would he do faced with a 20 pound monkey? I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


We went to Jaxson's on Saturday night. In case you've missed my previous posts on Jaxson's, it's a famous old-fashioned ice cream parlor around the corner from our house. It turned out to be quite the shindig, 12 people on total. Although we had to wait about an hour and a half - because our group was so huge - it was definitely worth it.
Stellan loved our sundae, we let him have some without any reservations. I did some ulterior motives to doing it this way; I knew that if I let him just dig in with his own spoon from the start, he would get frustrated with using that spoon right around the time his mouth got too cold to continue. And it worked, he only had a few bites. Then he just used the sundae as a big fun goopy toy. He and I looked like a mother-son sundae ourselves by the time we left. But I said it before and I'll say it again, worth it!

Stellan's New Toy

Last week we got a package in the mail. It was from Toys R Us, and that can only mean one thing - new toys for me Stellan. It was from Grandma and Grandpa Steward, and had three items: a big tub of blocks, a wading pool and a crazy music-making pinball machine. I looked closer and saw that it was no ordinary pinball machine, it was the Bopping Bedbug Pinball machine. Ooo la la! So I unwrapped it, grabbed the camera and started recording so that Grandma and Grandpa could "be there" to see him play with his toy for the first time.
Disclaimer: this video is highly unremarkable and really really long. Watch at your own risk. Mostly enjoyable for grandparents (and similarly Stellan-obsessed fans) and other toddlers who, like Stellan, can't get enough of videos of toddlers on other blogs.

Bopping Bedbug Pinball from Krissie Cook on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Picnic At the Park

Kevin was exhausted after a grueling exam today on top of his normal workload, so he took the evening off and we headed for the park. We found the perfect spot (meaning it was out of sight of the playground and the fountain to avoid unnecessary distraction) for our simple meal and chowed down. Stellan also waved at every truck and bus to pass the park, which was a lot. The park is actually a big circle in the middle of the roundabout smack in the middle of downtown Hollywood.
After dinner, we took him a little down the path where he suddenly discovered the water play area. Hooray! If you listen carefully to the beginning of the video, you'll hear his little shriek of excitement when the water comes into view. (The video is long - just under 3 minutes - so feel free to watch only as much as you like. No demerits for quitting early.)

An Evening at Young Circle Park from Krissie Cook on Vimeo.

Breaking News!

I have been called as the Ward Girls Camp Director! Woot! They do camp during Spring Break here (makes a lot of sense to me), so my first meeting is in a few weeks. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My New Glamorous Life

For any of you who have been wondering what it's like to leave the full-time workplace and stay at home with a kid, I'll lay it out for you. I get to play with my fantastic kid, sit around and eat bonbons/watch soaps/catch up on my gossip mags while he naps. OK, it's not quite like that. Most days I know it's way more challenging than my old job was. (I know, controlling the universe does seem like a big job by comparison, but it just doesn't take the same toll.)
Today I experienced one of those defining moments. Not really the kind that defines your kid, or even really your relationship with your kid; more like the like that defines how you are going to choose to react to this new glamorous lifestyle.
Stellan had just woken from a lengthy nap and I knew he must be hungry. So I grabbed some leftovers and heated them up a bit for him. I plopped the dish on his highchair, along with a fork, and left the room for about 5 seconds to grab something in the living room (adjacent to the kitchen). As I rounded the corner back to the kitchen, I was met with the cheesiest grin I had ever seen. Seriously, the kid was covered in cheesy leftovers and grinning like he knew what kind of trouble he was in.
I had two choices: I could grab the food away, take control of the situation, clean him up and then offer lunch in a more staid fashion; or I could laugh hysterically at how much damage he had done in just a few seconds and run for the camera. If your eagle eyes have already spotted the slideshow below, you know which one I picked.
Heaven help me if he ever gets into a life threatening but hilariously humorous situation.

P.S. The noodles in his hair lasted until bathtime tonight. When given the choice to clean the floor or clean the kid, I went for the floor. I figured he was less likely to spread a mess on his head than a mess he could get to with his feet. Plus, I couldn't resist unveiling him to his dad that evening.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Perfect Evening

Last night our family enjoyed what comes about as close as you can get to a perfect evening. We had a modest meal of curried chicken and potatoes, which we enjoyed while watching a couple of episodes of Season 3 of the Muppet Show. Stellan was sweet and cute for pretty much the entire evening, loving playing on the couch (meaning on top of mommy and daddy, who were on the couch) and likes the Muppets, too. He enjoys clapping with the audience, he sends out a fake laugh with the laugh track upon occasion and he definitely likes the songs. He sways back and forth and jumps in rhythm. This lasted over an hour, which was so perfect. It was one of those times when we could all just appreciate being together as a family, the kind of moment you have to capture in your memory for instant recall in times of sleepless sick nights, tantrums in the grocery store and exploding diapers.
Adding to the perfection was the Friday night vibe, the finally-clean living room (full house tour coming soon!), some Mug cream soda and microwave popcorn, which Stellan also enjoyed. Also, we saw one of my most favorite episodes of the Muppet Show ever, the one where Harry Belafonte guest stars. Classic! It has my most favorite Muppet scene of all time (embedded below), and when Kevin saw it, he said, "Now I see why you like African and South American percussion instruments so much!" And it's tough to know if I like those instruments because of seeing that sketch as a kid, or if I'm naturally drawn to those sounds and that's why I love the sketch so much.
Anyway, Stellan was tired early and went to bed without complaint, giving Kevin and I some two-of-us time that we definitely appreciated. So from dinner to family togetherness to Muppets to adult conversation, it was perfect.

A Shout Out For a Good Cause

Good friend of the Cookie Jar Heather Greife is training to participate as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training. What that means is that she will be running in the Carlsbad Marathon in January to help raise funds for finding the cure. Wow - go Heather! If you'd like to find out more and/or support this awesome cause and our buddy Heather, you can find her online here. (Don't miss the super terrific photo of her looking all sporty/marathony - she's the real deal!)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Homeopathy - Read the Labels!

Today I was unpacking some boxes and came across some teething tablets we purchased a while ago at the advice of a kind soul at church. Since Stellan is currently in the throes of molar cutting, I thought that it might be the right time to use it. It is produced by Hyland's Homeopathic, which set off some warning bells in my head. Then I read the label. Ingredients follow:
Calcarea phosphorica - a quick Google search indicated that this is a malady as often as it is a remedy in homeopathic circles. Not exactly dangerous, but certainly not medically proven to do anything.
Chamomilla - all right, harmless enough, but I'm still not convinced it's going to do much to ease the pain of sharp bone piercing my son's tender gums.
Coffea cruda - now I draw the line. I'm not a big caffeine fan in the first place, but I definitely do not think my overly energetic son needs any artificial stimulation.
Belladonna - WHAT!? Deadly Nightshade?! No way. No way! I'm not deliberately feeding my son one of the most toxic plants in the western hemisphere.
So that's why I didn't give my son any teething tablets. And why I continue to avoid homeopathic "remedies" in general.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stellan's New Cousin

Chase Lauren Thompson was born earlier today, measuring in at 6 lbs. 14 oz. and 19 inches long. She and her mom, my sister Jenn, are both doing well and are resting happily after such a long day. My reports indicate that Chase is very mellow and sweet, and cuter than cute. Congratulations to Jenn, Jonathan and Chase from everyone at the Cookie Jar!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pool Time!

Last week we got Stellan his own little pool for the backyard. It comes with a built-in sun shade, which makes me happy because we can use it even in the middle of the day if we want. Back in SB, we would have worried about the hose water being too cold, but here in Florida we don't worry about it at all.
It's fairly safe to say that he's a big fan of his new pool, as the slide show will indicate. And as long as Stellan's happy, Mommy's happy. Especially if she gets to sit under the umbrella with her feet in the pool.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Home Tour Teaser

So we're not quite unpacked, although we've made some really good progress. You can imagine how grateful and happy we've been to get our stuff, so this is the most quickly and fervently we've ever "moved in" to anywhere we've lived.
Most of it seems intact, and almost all of it made it, as far as we've inventoried thus far. We were super lucky and some friends from church volunteered to help us unpack. Jeff and Olga's daughter, Elsa, is just over 12 months, so she and Stellan are very close to the same age. It was so helpful to have someone to distract Stellan as well as some extra hands and fresh energy.

So we got a ton done this afternoon, and although the rest of the house isn't quite ready for show and tell yet, here's a sneak preview of Stellan's room, which is looking pretty awesome right now. He loves having all his toys and animals out where he can grab them, and I'm glad they're so easy to put away.

One final note - some of you may have heard that Stellan was really sick over the weekend. He had a raging fever that kept him up all night for a few nights, and transformed our energetic, friendly baby into a whimpering, seizing shadow of himself. I'm happy to report he has recovered fully and is making up for lost time.